Finding Valor – Self-Titled EP

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Notes: Make sure to click "like" on the band's website right after you download their album for FREE!Notes: Make sure to click "like" on the band's website right after you download their album for FREE!

These days as I flick through clips of bling-bling-adorned rappers, big booties and half-naked pop princesses across contemporary music channels, I notice something very wrong with the American pop music sensibility. Forgive my bitter enmity towards the mainstream, but what happened to plain young kids in denims playing in a garage band shouting out to the world about anything and everything? Didn’t The Smashing Pumpkins used to epitomize the word ‘cool’? Is it fallacious to grip onto this ideal? I don’t know, maybe I’m just stuck in the ‘90’s.

For this reason, whenever I stumble across a young and unaffected punk band who passionately loves what they do, my heart skips a beat, and that’s not just because I’m a teenage girl raging with hormones. It’s because I’m reminded what real music is about. On their Internet page, the boys from Finding Valor humbly confess they are ‘just four friends who like playing music.’ What a refreshing attitude! Their self-titled album is a sublime reflection of this kind of joyous submission, with their first song ‘Bigger Than You’ introducing clean guitar riffs and guileless punk-whine vocals.

The song laments the unnaturally elevated esteem of a heartless bitch (depending on your interpretation) and one boy’s vow to rise above her and also above ‘this town.’ The empowering and charmingly candid lyrics are enunciated by unapologetic, in-your-face pop-rock instrumentation and backing harmonies. Immediately I can confidently prophesize this is the type of band that would put on a damned good show.

Following, ‘The Price Paid‘ is definitively the strongest track on the album, introspectively reflecting on past choices and the owning up of responsibility at ‘taking the broken road.’ The awesomely poppy punk chord progressions are evocative of Paramore’s guitar style, and it’s catchy as hell. The band really displays tight musicianship, on both a rhythmic and dynamic level. Lyrically, the song would be easily relatable to a lot of listeners.  Regret and confusion are emotions many young people are no stranger to throughout their formative years, yet Finding Valor adopt a trademark valiant attitude towards these difficult feelings, choosing to accept consequence over ignorance. With a definitive verse pattern and chorus, ‘The Price Paid’ is the 3-minute peanut butter to radio’s toast. So far, the album bursts with the vigor of 90’s teen flick music (think American Pie or Eurotrip) yet has a refreshingly innocent edge their band name dutifully emanates- Finding Valor. Boy, do these guys find it!

The following 3 tracks are an abundance of major-chord indulgence, guitar-dominant riffs and sentimental yet startlingly honest lyrics. ‘Somewhere South’ has a lively indie acoustic feel, demonstrating these guys can back down on the amplification when necessary. The vocals could do with a little more dynamism but like the oaky characters need time to develop in a fine vintage wine, this will mature with experience- the band is ever-growing. In account of their recent victories at numerous Battle of the Bands competitions, and their rapidly escalating number of gigs across Chicago, its clear Finding Valor’s meritorious efforts are not going unnoticed. Salubrious, wholesome, all-American pop rock is a surefire hit in this day and age, and I can positively see these guys in a stadium environment within the next year or two.

Rating: 4/5 Stars!

Album: Self Titled EP
Release Date: April, 2012
Genre(s): Alternative Rock
Location: Chicago, IL
Members: Andy Hilligoss-Vocals, Guitar, Sam Urie-Guitar, Cameron Littleson-Bass, Jake Newling-Drums

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