Album Review: Valencia - 'Dancing With A Ghost'

6 January 2011 | 9:10 am | Staff Writer
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When I first discovered Valencia just shortly before their 2009 Soundwave appearance I have to admit that some songs off their 2008 release "We All Have A Reason To Believe" were on constant rotation on my iPod, now 2 years later the Pennsylvanian band, along with a new drummer, follows that up with their third studio album "Dancing With A Ghost".

It seems with this bands latest offering, the album has been somewhat split into two, not intentionally I assume but the album is made up of upbeat, catchy pop-punk songs that they are known for and mature rock songs that show that the band has grown since their last offering, listening to the album from start to finish halfway through the album it quickly switches sounds and becomes a little darker and rockier.

The album starts off with its title track and first single "Dancing With A Ghost" straight in to the upbeat bouncy sound that Valencia is well known for. This song is iconic of their pop-punk roots it is extremely catchy and very poppy and by the end of the song you basically know the words to the chorus, however catchy they are there really isn’t anything quite unique about this song, very radio friendly and quite similar to their other material.

Following on is "Spinning Out" of similar sound to the albums opening track, it’s hard to ignore it but these songs are really quite catchy, however shortly after these catchy opening songs the mood of the album makes a turn, "We All Need A Reason To Believe" was written shortly after the tragic death of singer Shane Henderson’s girlfriend it was very obvious that that was a huge influence in the lyric, they were heartfelt and full of emotion but with a poppy beat. On this album songs such as "Still Need You Around" and "Losing Sleep" have the same feeling; but they are darker than their earlier work, both at the start of this album and on their previous albums, they almost sound like a different band. On such parts of the album it seems that they have moved slightly past their pop-punk roots and it is obvious they have grown since 2008.

Following on "Consider Me Dead" starts with deep monotone guitar riffs, very different to how that album starts. Building up to the chorus in much the same tone however it continues on with a heavier drum beat and bass line, with Henderson rawring as the song comes to an end, however not a bad song it just has a very different feel . From start to finish the songs on this album are quite divers and don’t flow together particularly well. Maybe my musical taste has also grown since I first appreciated Valencia however it took me a good 3 listens to this album to get into it, however once you do, to give them some credit, it’s not as bad as I first thought.

Overall this is a relatively good album, however there is not really anything special about it, there are a few standout songs including "Losing Sleep" and "Friday Night" however it does take a couple of listens to get into the album as the majority of the songs are not what Valencia fans are use to...however with saying that, it’s not always a bad thing.

1. Dancing with a Ghost
2. Spinning Out
3. Still Need You Around (Lost Without You)
4. Consider Me Dead
5. Losing Sleep
6. Friday Night
7. Somewhere I Belong
8. Days Go By
9. The Way
10. Stop Searching
11. Pieces