Evil Dr. Smith : "Ow, finally I once listened to the musical antics of you. And God-on-a-dead-horse, why did I wait so long? That little shit band of yours is seriously really good shit, I say! I am very pleasantly surprised. You asked too long ago if I could blame you for plagiarism and other musical whorism and I must say that there are many, many names come to mind when I listen to your music. Your vocals on one song sound like Glenn Danzig meets Ian Astbury in a dark room and rubs against his uvula. well, Astbury was not coincidentally the singer in The Doors Alive, regarding your sound. Then there's an atmosphere more towards Nick Cave and another song flirts with gothic (The Sound meets Editors in their good times). The overall sound also has some links with some lesser known bands like Compulsive Gamblers (the band of the guy from Oblivians). I did a little research in my long-term memory, but the sound of Gallon Drunk is also not very far away."
This was a chat I had with an acquaintance two years ago. He had moved to Limburg and had joined a band that already had a self-released EP at the time. He asked if I wanted to listen to his music. I knew him as someone who was addicted to all kinds of math metal, alternative metal and other intricate difficulty metal. I heard he also played in a band. Well, that's fine for him of course, and I wished him all the luck in the world, but I did not take his ambitions very seriously. On the other hand, I didn't know him very good. And it shows. What I wrote about their EP 'And Four Other Songs' in the first paragraph, applies to a greater extent also for their new album No Man's Valley. What a fricking good, mature, attractive, blues-, wave- and psychedelica-drenched alternative rock album is 'Time Travel'!
It starts right away with the goosebumps-inducing opener. While it only serves as an intro. The minute and a half of "The Man Who Would Be King" sounds like a negro spiritual prison blues chant from 1854, arranged by Nick Cave and P.J. Harvey when they want to put on Blind Lemon Jefferson a Grinderman jacket. A song with literally classic proportions. If the late Harry Smith of Smithsonian Folkways would hear this, he would place it still on his legendary "Anthology of American Folk Music" . So gentlemen, what do you mean by "all songs written by No Man's Valley"? No way! So confess please: where have you stolen this excellent traditional?
The album sounds with a bit more subdued, restrained sound. I smell, taste and feel a warm oppressive, melancholic sinister atmosphere - aptly captured by Joes Brands (of Flying Horseman among others), as the sublime "Love Or Axe Murder '. Sometimes it's a tad more cheerful and airy, like "The Wolves Are Coming", with its Kooks intro meets the sixties organs of DeWolff, which will be the live song par excellence. Jaspers voice still sounds like the occult-free brother of Glenn Danzig, but the Ian Astbury-comparison is not really in its place anymore. Occasionally his Danzig-like voice sounds a little too pompous and artificial, but that is a matter of drinking sufficient (Beasts of) Bourbon for a genuinely lived voice. Striking many references to Australian artists, I realize now. Perhaps a coincidence, perhaps a sign of No Man's Valley authentic sound (which I think namely of many Australian artists). The greatest strength of the album is the combination of balance, diversity and, despite the many references, quirkiness. Each song has its own qualities and atmosphere, yet the album exudes a homogenic character.
Common points for improvement would be the album length (33 minutes, only slightly longer than their debut EP) and the artwork of organist Ruud (not badly painted (?), but it lacks the alloy the music has), but otherwise this band has all the talents alongside bands like Birth of Joy, Gingerpig, ZooN and DeWolff to be proud of the Dutch rock music scene. No Man's Valley is right up everyman's alley! Henceforth greetings do not come out Grollo, but from Horst.