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Sedona - Golden Valley

posted 25 Jul 2011, 07:28 by Paul Woodward   [ updated 25 Jul 2011, 11:27 ]

(Avenue Of Allies)

Review by Woody

Sedona are a French trio comprising of Patrick Liotard (Vocals / Guitar), Stephane Larribat (Drums) & Jack AnDouar (Bass), who are an out and out west coast AOR outfit. West coast style AOR is something of a rarity these days, so big thumbs up in the direction of Avenue Of Allies for taking risks and putting out albums in this style, the recent Fab Box album they released was a great slice of West coast AOR and highly recommend it to fans of this genre. It’s nice to still hear bands performing and creating this style of very soft rock, in an era where every musician in rock is compelled to get heavier in order to appeal to a wider audience. If you like you’re west coast you should really check out the recent re-issue from West Of Sunset (originally released in 1992) which is a fantastic album from start to finish and a west coast fan boy’s wet dream!

Golden Valley is actually a re-issue, originally released in 1995 the bands third but first in English album. The re-issue is actually a taster and pre-cursor to the bands upcoming all new album due late 2010, which I’m presuming will be very much in the same vein and on the Avenue Of Allies label as well.

Not really an instant album, but it is damn good after you listen to the album a few times and really become attuned to the songs subtle hooks and power. I was on first spin a little under whelmed but as I was preparing my review I gave the album some background plays and found that it is great music to relax to and fantastic inoffensive good feeling background music. I kept thinking that the album has a real 80’s film score feel to it, not soundtrack, but actually film score. Many films of that era would use music like this throughout to emphasize whatever was going on in a scene to great effect, especially if you listen to just the music and try to zone the vocals out.

Opening track “Magic Dream” is probably the most instant track on offer, with sweeping keyboards and a great summertime vibe. Some excellent effective harmonies and some great hooks make the song stand out. I absolutely love the keyboards on this tune and there is a great guitar solo which highlights some of the great guitar work on offer on this album. “Surfing State Of Mind” is a full on west coast rocker with a really memorable chorus. Some stand out guitar work and keyboard licks make this a well worth listening too song. “Golden Valley” has a real country vibe especially in the guitar work; a great atmospheric tune which really hooks you after a few listens. The song puts me in mind of Americana musician Bonnie Raitt’s “Longing In Their Hearts” album.

“California Ballad” is a mid-tempo ballad, with an atmospheric 80’s lite AOR sound and a really nice chorus. “Sweet Wave Of Sunset” has an atmospheric keyboard vibe and is a VERY 80’s style sweeping ballad. You can actually imagine this been used in a film from that era. “Laguna” is an instrumental, a cool atmospheric guitar piece straight from an 80’s film score, very effective and a song that I really took a liking too.

“Rock Board” is a full on rocker, but it didn’t really click with me but there is some great guitar licks on the song! “Southern California Dream Space” is a fantastic atmospheric tune, with a great melody on the memorable chorus, it won’t take long for this one to imbed it self on you and have you swaying along sub-consciously. “You Choose Fanatic” has some great effective harmonies which make the song very atmospheric, some great melodies, a killer chorus and excellent musicianship on this one make it a real stand out.

“The Story” has a great upbeat summery AOR vibe, with some stand out guitar work including a top notch melodic guitar solo. “Tessalia” failed to grab me and is a little bit of filler on the album in my opinion. Instrumental “Sedona” closes the album, not a patch on “Laguna” but is a bit of harmless atmospheric background music but nothing special.

Other than a couple of filler tracks, I think this is a great west coast album and definitely one for fans of the genre to check out and enjoy. This album has really wetted my appetite for their upcoming new album as well. Smooth west coast AOR with a summery and atmospheric vibe, a perfect album for those summer barbeques!

Track Listing:

Magic Dream / Surfing State Of Mind / Golden Valley / California Ballad / Sweet Wave Of Sunset / Laguna / Rock Board / Southern California Dream Space / You Choose Fanatic / The Story / Tessalia / Sedona

Album Rating:


Woody’s Essential Track:

You Choose Fanatic

Golden Valley is OUT NOW from all good retailers and