By Monk

Artwork for Basement Sparks by Marc ValentneIt has to admitted that the history between Über Rock and Marc Valentine is a long and storied one. After all, for nigh on two decades he fronted one of our favourite glunk bands, Last Great Dreamers, before leaving to plough a solo furrow, which has led to this, his second stand-alone album, which cements his position as one of the most distinctive voices in the power pop mien, and one which very proudly celebrates the heritage of the subgenre in truly jubilant style.

From the opening distorted chord of ‘Complicated Sometimes’ to the dying embers of ‘Ballad Of Watt’, Valentine’s takes a test-tube filled with all of the power pop tropes – huge harmonies, catchy choruses, jangling riffs, memorable melodies – shakes it up and leaves it over a Bunsen burner until it boils and bubbles into a heady chemical cocktail that intoxicates with its dynamic effervescence.

‘Basement Sparks’ is an album that exudes energy, exuberance and excitement as much as it reflects the experience and maturity of its creator, who as the same demonstrates a renewed enthusiasm for creating quality three-minute pop punk anthems that are both firmly rooted in the genre’s historical context but at the same time are fresh and vibrant, demonstrating at the same time that, yet again, the “auld hands” can give the “new bucks” more than a run for their money.

Yes, there are moments of introspective pathos, such as ‘3AM Anderson Drive’, but even then the pure passion is evident. By the same token, there is also plenty of punk ‘n’roll mayhem, as on the insanely pastiche ‘Opening Chase Theme’, which summarizes the happy-go-lucky theme which permeates this album and makes it an essential listen (and, natch, purchase) for any glunkster.

  • Basement Sparks‘ is out now.
  • Marc Valentine plays The Water Rats, London, alongside The Speedways, on Thursday (4 April).
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