At first glance, the phrase “modern classic rock” appears to be a bit of an oxymoron. And yet, there are young bands all around the world whose music can best be described in this way.
Kickin Valentina, a new band out of Atlanta, Georgia, is a prime example of this. By combining the tried and true elements of classic rock with a healthy dose of youthful energy, Kickin Valentina’s self-titled debut pumps out the sort of adrenaline-soaked rock and roll that young and old alike can enjoy.
Clocking in at 5 songs and around 20 minutes, this album is technically labeled as an EP, but it’s still plenty long enough to let the listener know what this band is all about. “Get Ready” kicks things off with an infectious, power-chord-driven riff and snarling vocals that hark back to AC/DC and early Def Leppard. A strong chorus, augmented with some powerful backing vocals, makes this song a fitting introduction to Kickin Valentina’s sound.
Next up is “Eat and Run,” which keeps the heavy riffs and catchy hooks coming. This song really shines when the guitar drops out during the verse, putting the spotlight on the low-end punch of the rhythm section and the raw power of vocalist Joe Edwards. This does a lot to compensate for the track’s lackluster second half, which sees the chorus sort of run out of steam before it ends.
The third track on the EP is “Anita.” Rock bands have long make a tradition of writing ballads that use a woman’s name as the title, but the pounding groove and primal scream that open this track lets the listener know right away: this is no sappy love song. In fact, it’s one of the heaviest tracks on the album, especially when guitarist Heber Pampilton busts out an absolutely smoking solo. Just when you think the song is over, it kicks back in for one more punch to the gut.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a rock album without at least one anguished tale of love gone wrong. “Alone” delivers the goods in this regard. While the lyrics may be a bit clichéd, the band keeps the tempo up and prevents the track from devolving into a stereotypical power ballad. Meanwhile, Joe Edwards delivers an impassioned vocal performance that really brings the story of the song to life.
Closing out the album is “Dirty Girl”. Based on the title, this song is everything one would expect. Pure AC/DC-style sleaze, “Dirty Girl” is fun and raunchy, both in terms of the music and lyrical content. While it may not be the most musically rigorous track on the EP, it does a good job of closing the proceedings with style.
At its core, the Kickin Valentina EP represents five solid tracks by a very solid band. The songwriting and overall production may not be quite on par with more established acts just yet, but it’s clear that this band has loads of potential. It’s tough for new artists to make it big these days. But by combining influences from the past with some more modern sensibilities, Kickin’ Valentina are giving themselves a fighting chance.