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Equatorial Ultravox

Chad Valley

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Album Review

It's little surprise that Jonquil's Hugo Manuel, working under the Chad Valley name for his solo efforts, found himself opening for Active Child around the time of Equatorial Ultravox's release — like that act and various others around the world in the early 2010s, there's a strong sense that Valley aims to reinterpret a kind of never-never land of angelic male singing and electronic-driven arrangements that seems to recombine a variety of impulses from the '80s into a combination that never could have existed until a later moment. Thus "Acker Bilk" finds Valley singing with a stateliness and ease that could almost be Joe Cassidy of Butterfly Child but with a calm focus that well matches the elegant music. "I Want Your Love" skates around the lush neo-Balearic/beardo disco of recent years with Valley's angelic yet very male energy — a sense of falsetto as siren call to whoever might respond —- driving the whole. The eternal playing out of a ghostly feeling of Auto-Tuned sleek disco resonates through "Fast Challenges," steady pulse turning into Hi-NRG celebration, while "Reach Lines" warps bits of that into a slow, bass-heavy crawl with funk-tinged keyboard lines, huge echoed female backing vocals, and a sense of melancholic robots slow dancing in a sunset. "Shell Suite" brings guitar to the fore as a nice touch for a final song, but the whole is a strikingly good debut effort and a further sign of how a new pathway for solo singer/songwriters via the electronic medium continues to open up.

Customer Reviews

Shell Suite

A lovely plangent and gorgeous song that will transport to a dreamscape. Seriously, I think this is the best song on the album though the rest holds up as well.

So good...

Wow. I love this whole album. It's so hard to describe, though. I guess, it's like being in a warm bath of music; it just makes you feel... good. Just listen and enjoy! That's all I can say.

Warm bodies ruled!

I love this song it is on constant rotation on all my devices. Love love love chad valley! Amazing album....check out Young Hunger even more amazing music from chad valley!


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '10s

After taking his bedroom recordings to the next level with a full band in Jonquil, Oxford-based Hugo Manuel went back to recording as a solo artist under the name Chad Valley. Jonquil signed to Dovecote Records in the States and, around the same time, Manuel leaked a handful of dreamy, Ibiza and R&B-inspired electro-pop demos to the Web. A flock of sites (including Vice, Pitchfork, and Guardian) featured Chad Valley's "Up and Down" and "Acker Bilk" in the summer of 2010. Manuel continued to play...
Full Bio
Equatorial Ultravox, Chad Valley
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Customer Ratings