Artist: Principe Valiente
Label: Afmusic // Manic Depression Records
Well, citing Cocteau Twins as an influence is a huge bonus in my book! A strange way to begin this review, perhaps.. Yet it is inevitable to mention this, since Cocteau Twins is a definite, all-time favorite of mine. Also being a great inspiration to some. Such is the case with Principe Valiente.
This Swedish band comes out of Stockholm. “Oceans” is their third full-length release. They use the term dark pop, in order to describe their music. An accurate assumption and a valid description of their sound characteristics, that is! Moving between the fragments of shoegaze and post-punk, targeting a point in time when these movements were reaching their peak-this specific era was back in the early 80’s. Unleashing their third album so far, one could reasonably assume that they already have the experience needed. And more.
To start, I would say that this is a pretty energetic sound! The lush guitars are present, obviously-upfront sounding, providing a velvet carpet for the listener to stand on. The rhythm section is intense and gives a weird sense of strength and passion. While the soft, hazy atmosphere that has come to be associated with shoegazing bands is naturally present here, there are also elements of proto-goth. As well as some moments of pop magnificence.
All these tendencies elegantly come forth in elegiac tracks-”Untouchable” is a perfect example of this. What actually sounds like a David Bowie song at first, explores in a glorious, airy mid-tempo opus. In the manner of Slowdive, perhaps.
The vocals are well balanced and complete the audio platform of Principe Valiente. The prevailing sentiment is the feeling of sweet nostalgia. And that is so important for these songs: atmosphere. Something that this band really knows how to achieve. The album closer, “Monsters Of The Sea” stands as a valid epitome of this band’s intentions, for sure. Swirling swiftly on a strong bass-line and an exceptional voice performance. Complimented by warm keyboards. Golden memories flew back to me-pieces of past times arose. I could easily drop certain names of inspiration-the list would be rather long, including a range of artists and bands. From Ride to Ikon, in through a series of colors..
“Oceans” is a great title, I guess-as it sums up this album’s water-like essence. Especially when it comes to these lovely guitar-driven melodies. Experience is valuably important. Yet it is not the main ingredient of this disc. Passion is the force that shapes these songs.Principe Valiente seems to be an eclectically passionate act. And as such, they preserve an aura of spectacular magnitude.
“Oceans” in particular-could be described as a deeply satisfying night- ravelling experience. Filling the air with needed holes. Fulfilling their vision, somehow. A great and welcome addition for any collector that searches for sonic touches of dark yet hopeful mirrors. Sweet stuff, indeed!
1) Wildest Flowers
2) When I Learned To Crawl
3) Strangers In The Night
5) Running Juneviles
6) No Time
7) The Reason Why
8) Monsters Of The Sea
Score:8,5/10 Isabelle S.