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There's Nothing Safe

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Album Review

Catchy guitar/synth rock with prime emphasis on hooks — will it ever go out of style? (Hopefully not.) Thus Vendetta Valentine, a trio whose debut album provides exactly that, in all its nervous and herky-jerky glory, and if it's an example of how Devo may yet be more of a touchstone than the Beatles — well, maybe — then credit to the band for making the blend work for itself. Part of it lies in the band's not so secret love of big radio anthems; a song like "Stars Are Papercuts" has the crisp punch of old drum machines on the verses (and throughout, really — the band has no drummer but honestly doesn't feel like it's missing one) but still seems like it should be soundtracking the end of an episode of an early-21st century TV teen drama, and probably has. Meantime, the nods to plenty of other earlier touchstones are plentiful but cleverly used — "Wrecking Ball" hijacks the Pixies' "Debaser" just enough in the verses while having a whispered purr of a chorus in contrast, while the straight-up alternate Ferris Bueller mixtape glory of songs like "One More Day" and "Hang Up Station" is gold. If all this is the example of a young band still finding its feet in full, it's all still promising enough, while each of the players has something good to offer: singer/rhythm guitarist Thomas Monroe's got a strong, higher voice that's attractively edgy and/or smooth rather than strained (a relief after so many Wayne Coyne knockoffs), Daniel Powell's guitar heroics have their clear place song for song, and Anna Judd's keyboards aim for the hook each time and score pretty well on that front. Best song titles, one after the other: "Odd Nerdrum's Other Lover" and "Primitive Song About Danger and Excitement."


Formed: 2006 in Santa Ana, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Los Angeles new wave revivalists Vendetta Valentine blend punky guitar rock and needly synth pop in a manner akin to contemporaries like the Epoxies and You Say Party! We Say Die! as well as old-school acts like Berlin and Missing Persons. Formed in early 2006 in the L.A. suburb of Santa Ana, the trio of singer Thomas Monroe (also a published author with a science fiction novel called Neeva's Gift to his credit), guitarist and drum machine programmer Daniel Powell, and keyboardist Anna Judd named...
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There's Nothing Safe, Vendetta Valentine
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