Northey Valenzuela

Northey Valenzuela

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The pairing of guitarist/vocalist Craig Northey with vocalist/guitarist Jesse Valenzuela works very well on Northey Valenzuela's eponymous album, though the cover photo leaves a lot to be desired and doesn't give a glimpse of the great sounds within. The disc opens with a laid-back semi-driving "Talk to Yourself," a very appealing slice of pop drawing from Dwight Twilley and perhaps R.E.M. doing the Eagles' "Already Gone" at half speed. "Counting on You" borrows liberally from George Harrison's "Paperback Writer" riff, and that's a good thing on this bright and shiny music, sounds on that song representative of what you'll find here. "You gotta be cruel to be kind" is a line from track seven, "Let It Go," a little hint that Nick Lowe is an influence, and a positive one at that. Though not as immediate as Dwight Twilley's best moments, "Slow Goodbye" is a keeper (sounds like they're singing "I want to slow the vibe"), while "See Through Heart" and "The Little Things" have the earmarks of potential pop classics if underground radio could somehow blast them into the mainstream consciousness. There's a feast of melodic punch throughout the 13 tracks, music worth lending your ear.

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