Austria's Valina raised eyebrows in the indie rock world with Vagabond, originally released on Austria's Trost Records and Belgium's Conspiracy Records, and re-released in the States by Fifty-Four Forty or Fight Records. The trio carves out an edgy, math rock sound from the opening notes of "Comes the Horsehead Thinker." The guitar swirl and general upbeatness of "Dance Your Job" and the xylophone on "Ship to Escape" add surprises to the mix, making the rest of the disc an unexpected treat. Many of the tracks seem destined to fall apart at any moment, defying most musical conventions. The band mixes grittiness with tenderness on "The Akrobat 36." The bass is prominent on "Air Edna," a groovy and unpredictable track. "Far South and Your Breasts" and "Director's Clowns" end the disc with grace, rhythm and precision. The band makes math rock easily digestible, weaving harmony with scorching guitar. The band netted Steve Albini's production talents after they toured with Shellac in Europe. The disc was mastered by Steve Rooke at Abbey Road Studios.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer