The Valkarys - (Just Like) Flying With God

by Jeff Penczak Rating:8 Release Date:2015-04-25

It’s been five years since Edinburgh’s Valkarys released their excellent debut (The Average Can Blind You to the Excellent) and fans have had to make due with two EPs while the band relocated back home (from London) to prepare this long-awaited follow-up. The accolades keep pouring in (Alan McGee’s Death Disco at Notting Hill Arts Club, Fred Perry Subculture's Band of the Week, cheers from Libertine Carl Barat) and the band are set to conquer the world, one sweaty club at a time.

The quartet’s chiming guitars and strident vocals are tipped for anthemic shout-alongs from throngs of fans grooving to the likes of Big Country, The Waterboys, and The Proclaimers. Vocalist Scott Dunlop adopts an Iggy swagger on ‘The Passenger’-like ‘Honey Hill’, while the wah-wahs are set on stun for the marching stomp of ‘Xylophobia’ (fear of wood/forests for the uninitiated), which features an elegantly restrained-yet-soaring solo from Craig Birrell. ‘Early Verve’ will draw comparisons to its namesake (Dunlop pulls off a pretty decent Ashcroft impression), but there are also darker elements of brooding, gloomy Joy Division and Red Lorry Yellow Lorry dystopia lurking behind Birrell’s steaming solos, a trademark of their guitar-based rock 'n' roll.

Some tracks suggest a possible fascination with Mike Ness and his solo adventures outside Social Distortion (dark, melancholic, self-deprecating), but their melodic gifts lift tunes like ‘We Are the World’ out of the muck and mire and offer new hope for the wretched. Then there’s the galloping shuffle of ‘Fistfull of Dollars (Revisited)’, a boot-up-the-arse version that lays waste to the original sleepy drawl found on the Chloroform EP. All in all, a fine return and a welcome addition to your psychedelic garage collection.

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