In certain ways making an instrumental album is harder than a conventional album, especially today when popular music hands more importance to the vocals than the instrumentation. To weave a story using just instruments must be so much more harder. Valence, a four piece from New York, USA, prove that though the task may be hard, it is not impossible. Their release ‘Laser Baron’ is a 3 track, 16 minute instrumental that manages to project a story in the listener’s head, more effectively many other bands today.
The album kicks off with the title track and the energy level in the music is high right from the start. It feels like the soundtrack to a slick action sequence in a James Bond movie. The music is very progressive and entertaining at the same time. The jazz influence in the music adds an interesting dynamic to it. The way the music progresses, it’s easy to picture a scene or story that goes with it.
‘Wormhole’ follows next and the sounds presented here are what I would imagine a wormhole in deep space to sound like (if sounds can be heard in deep space). This track has a more relaxed pace and it carries a hypnotic vibe that one can trip to. It evolves into a smooth jazz tune towards the end and the drumming here is fascinating and complex. It does pick up pace near the climax, giving it a grand finish.
‘The Reckoning’ finishes off the album in style and this is the song with the most aggressive, pumped up feel in the music. The complex guitar riffs are enthralling and entertaining at the same time. Kudos to Mike Buonanno and Geoffrey Schafer on this front. The album ends in the same fashion it began with ‘Laser Baron’. The album overall is just 16 minutes long, but it really easy to get lost in the music presented here. This is what an instrumental album should sound like.