She Wants Revenge

Valleyheart

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AllMusic Review by

Arriving four years after This Is Forever showed just how closely She Wants Revenge could follow the post-punk and synth pop rule books, Valleyheart injects the band’s sound with some much-needed ambition and eclecticism. A concept album about the San Fernando Valley and the turbulent relationships of its denizens, this set of songs proves once and for all that while She Wants Revenge's influences may be from New York and England, they’re undeniably a product of Los Angeles. They’re as sleek and slick as ever on love/hate songs like “Little Star” and “Up in Flames,” which makes their city sound downright dangerous, with lyrics like “the canyon screams and the highways bleed at night.” “Not Just a Girl” and “Suck It Up” are typical dark and doomy She Wants Revenge songs, but more often than not, the band tries new things. “Take the World” puts gritty electronics and programmed beats at the fore, while many of the highlights are surprisingly lighthearted. “Must Be the One” echoes some of U2’s soaring sweetness, while “Kiss Me” couches SWR's swooning romanticism in deceptively sunny pop. “Holiday Song” might be Valleyheart's finest moment, a Bowie-esque ballad that captures the splendid isolation/self-pity of being alone on a day where everyone else is together. Ultimately, the album shows that She Wants Revenge is developing their own sound on their own terms.

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