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Starving Daughters - Strange Valleys CD (album) cover

STRANGE VALLEYS

Starving Daughters

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Funky Canterbury; this year's equivalent to 2017's Suspension by fellow West Coaster Brian Ellis. Chris Tillotson and collaborators have pulled together such a great collection of psychedelic funk prog instrumentals that I find myself asking, "Who are these guys? Why have I never heard of them?" And, of course, I've got to go back into their discography to hear the other albums that led to this masterpiece.

1. "Sunburn" (3:14) the West Coast funk reincarnation of Steve Hillage?! (9.5/10)

2. "Night Stalker" (3:08) great groove with amazing weave of acoustic guitar, electric guzz guitar and synth. The synth solos steal this one away! Best song on the album and in the running for Song of the Year! (10/10)

3. "Raw Deal" (2:59) Amazing slowed-down section beginning at the 2:00 mark. (9.5/10)

4. "Al Pastor" (3:20) prominent and aggressive acoustic guitar strumming distinguishes this song from the rest. (8/10)

5. "Joshua Tree" (1:37) more syncopated, slowed down acoustic guitars form the spine for this one while multiple synths and heavily-treated guitars cover the weave of leads. (8/10)

6. "PCH" (2:10) almost a total ripoff of CHIC/NILE ROGERS/BERNARD EDWARDS/SISTER SLEDGE song "He's The Greatest Dancer" for the first minute before the searing STEVE HILLAGE-like solo guitar takes over. (8.5/10)

7. "Jogging" (3:01) more IBIZA beach-jazz-funk; more disco-like rhythm guitar over which synths and STEVE HILLAGE- like lead guitar jam. (9/10)

8. "Diamonds" (3:08) essentially a continuation of the previous song's rhythm tracks with new/different lead instrument sounds and melodies. Great bass play! (9.5/10)

9. "Los Angeles" (3:31) more of a 70s Black sexploitation soundtrack song on this one, though more laid back. Heavily flanged synth in left channel and fuzzed guitar in right tandem solo. Lead guitar switches through three different sounds, the last of which sounds like Mike OLDFIELD. More great bass play and R&B rhythm guitar. (8.5/10)

10. "Pursuit" (1:55) a hard drivin' funk song with awesome OLDFIELD/HILLAGE-like guitar sound soloing over the top. Synth joins in with chorus, otherwise this one is a showcase for a single solo guitar. (9/10)

11. "Neon Traffic" (3:27) jazzier funk here supports GARY NUMAN-like solo synth sound before guitar enters to take the lead. More HILLAGE reminders here. Nice spacey synth solo at the end of the second minute. (8.5/10)

12. "El Nino" (2:20) like a revisitation to STEVE HILLAGE's "Palm Trees" (without the lyrics). (9.5/10)

13. "Criminal Weekend" (2:34) Another gorgeous song that feels as if it were inspired by STEVE HILLAGE's album Green--and specifically the song "Palm Trees." (10/10)

14. "Sunsets" (3:11) a great, melodic song that sounds as if it should have been a theme song to some 1970's television show. Very catchy bass and synth lines with the ear-candy melody being delivered by the guitars (lead and rhythm). Awesome end to an awesome album. (9/10)

5 stars; a masterpiece and ground-blazing contribution of upbeat, "Canterbury Funk." Happy music! Makes me think of what might have happened had Steve Hillage or Mike Oldfield gone West Coast jazz-funk. Great stuff and HIGHLY recommended to music lovers everywhere.

Report this review (#1884585)
Posted Sunday, February 11, 2018 | Review Permalink
Kempokid
COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars You know, for a band named Starving Daughters, I was really expecting something darker sounding, or at the very least not as gloriously funky and happy sounding as this. Each song is a short, groovy, atmospheric track that captures a certain feel or image, often something very summery in nature, with the tone used on the synth. The basslines and synths are definitely what I'd consider the star of the show here, although nothing is particularly weak, all increasing the general enjoyability the album possesses.

Sunburn definitely encapsulates what this album has to offer perfectly,each instrument having a distinct role, being led by the bass and synth. The followup track, Nightstalker, proves to be an even better song, with some amazing guitar melodies combined with a very relaxing feel to it, all topped off with a lovely synth solo. The music continues with this very similar sort of sound for quite a while, most songs with some degree of identity, whether it be the slower section of Raw Deal or the slightly darker edge that the synths in Al Pastor have, leading to a sonically consistent album that still throws in enough twists and turns to be highly enjoyable. Another interesting point is Joshua Tree, which sounds like a more trippy version of Porcupine Tree's Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It's Recycle. Some of my personal favourite songs here are the afformentioned Nightstalker, which I just find to be absolutely amazing, the fast paced Pursuit, momentarily abandoning the breezy jazziness of the songs in favour of a faster paced song, fitting in with its title quite well. My absolute favourite is undoubtedly Neon Traffic however, which embraces the psychedelic side of the band fully, with such a wonderful groove and amazing synth sound. While there isn't a moment in which I find myself being bored by this album, one issue I do have is that despite the variation between songs, there aren't too many points on the album in which I am truly amazed, instead simply finding the album as a whole to be largely enjoyable.

Despite this complaint, it still doesn't take away from the fact that this is a really enjoyable album all the way through, and one that I would wholeheartedly recommend to those who enjoy this sort of synth heavy, psychedelic funk. I definitely will looke forward to any future albums that this band releases, as this is a great album perfect for almost any situation.

Best songs: Nightstalker, Pursuit, Neon Traffic

Weakest songs: none

Verdict: I'd highly recommend this album to most people, as it's a great, easy listen that can capture a mood amazingly while also backing it up with excellent melody and groove.

Report this review (#2150048)
Posted Wednesday, February 27, 2019 | Review Permalink

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