The first album from David Gedge and company since El Rey in 2008, Valentina exudes only faint whiffs of legacy high points like George Best and Bizarro, 1987 and 1989 respectively. The wistful, guitar-driven heartache of those LPs cut to the core of how it feels to be an overanalytical young man with a penchant for romantic masochism. On the Leeds, UK, legend's latest, raw nerves give way to slightly rumpled sluggishness. Overlong opener "You're Dead" sets the tone with Gedge's familiar love-gone-wrong narrative, undercut by a meandering song structure and low-energy production (where's Steve Albini when you need him?). Mercifully, the album picks up to ramming speed on "Back a Bit ... Stop," which peaks with the memorable Gedge turn of phrase, "How does a girl like you get to be a girl like you?" "Deer Caught in the Headlights" starts off in a promising vein before wandering into artifice. There's plenty of sizzle, but nothing really sears. (Wed., 10pm, Swan Dive; Fri., 11pm, the Iron Bear, playing Seamonsters)
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