Kickin Valentina / The Essence And Energy Of Live Performances Bottled

To begin, please allow me to paraphrase a world-famous quote: “We are Kickin Valentina, and we play rock ‘n’ roll.” For those of you yet to experience their incendiary live shows, be informed that they bristle with relentless dynamism from first note right through until the final power chord.

Kickin Valentina – Star Spangled Fist Fight (Mighty Music)

Release Date: 19 April 2024

Words: Sophie James

This Friday sees the release of Star Spangle Fist Fight, their long-awaited fourth full-length album and the eagerly anticipated follow-up to 2021’s The Revenge of Rock.

Bottom Line Up Front: Ten tracks of virulent vivacity will nourish the soul and leave you grinning from ear to ear.

Kickin Valentina – Star Spangled Fist Fight - Ten tracks of virulent vivacity will nourish the soul and leave you grinning from ear to ear.
Kickin Valentina – Star Spangled Fist Fight – Ten tracks of virulent vivacity will nourish the soul and leave you grinning from ear to ear.

Kickin Valentina launches proceedings in rambunctious style on Star Spangled Fist Fight as a brief riff followed by a piercing holler introduces Getting Off. They start as they mean to go on with a stream of fiery riffs, pulsating bass, pounding resonant drums, as well as the kind of backing vocals that will encourage even the most lyrically unaware to join in.

The intro to the latest single, Dirty Rhythm, is most reminiscent of a NWOBHM classic, but that’s where the similarities end. Like so many here, it perfectly sets the scene for a big night out. One can easily visualise cruising down the Hollywood or Vegas Strips. The mid-song breakdown will also encourage a wee bit of audience participation if aired live.

“Stardust and a bottle of Jack. Watch the planets collide and set the demons free.

“Cos this blood’s going cold. I challenged the house, and I decided to fold”.

The fabulously frantic Fire Back is Grade A Valentina that has the same kind of manic infectious groove as old favourite Freakshow. First aired on last year’s summer tour, it is easy to see why they needed to get it out there.

Commencing with a piercing howl from D.K., its driving rhythm and beguiling melody grab you by the neck and, for the next 3+ minutes, give you a damn good shakin’. An essential inclusion into the live set and already one of my favourites.

Now they have your full attention, they are not about to relinquish their grip. Man On A Mission is an enormously addictive anthem. The introductory rolling bass, matching drums and peeling guitar, give no inkling of the infectiousness to come.  

“…….Here we go……

I’ve got the heart of Las Vegas burning in my soul.

I’ve got the eye of a tiger playing rock n roll.

Still got the scars from a long-lost Saturday night.

I’m a man on a motherfuckin’ mission tonight.”

I guarantee you’ll be singing it. And if you don’t fancy joining in on that chorus, just holler along to the enormous ‘Woah-Woahs!!’. This is destined to become another essential setlist inclusion that will see many plastic beer glasses raised and sloshed around. Irresistible.

Turn Me Loose perfectly fuses the accessibility and appeal of heavy power pop whilst losing none of its hard rock pedigree.

Ridiculously addictive, breaking up has never felt so good.  

“Turn Me Loose, Turn Me Loose. I’m sick of the lies and the abuse.”

Not to be confused with the similarly titled Therapy? number, Died Laughing continues in a similar vein.

Lead single Takin’ A Ride is a glorious, turbocharged post-apocalyptic road tune with an übercatchy chorus. Upon its release in January, I described it as an impelling blast of Anthemic Riffery and more besides. Please follow the link if you wish to know more. 

Is there a more spirited statement of intent than “Lord – have – Mercy, here I am” to a song entitled Amsterdam? 

A souped-up slice of call and response, dirt under the fingernails, blues-inspired thrashy feel-good RnR. That will be more beer spilt.  

The penultimate number and second single, Ride Or Die, sees us begin the charge down the home straight. All the aforementioned qualities are still present—there is no filler on this bad boy.

Album closer and titular track Star Spangled Fist Fight is thematically akin to a hybrid of Sir Elt’s Saturday Night and a modern West Side Story.  

“Looking for revenge to start up a fight.”

Of course, that’s where any similarities stop. The incisive riffs create a dark, brooding atmosphere and simulate blades glinting in the moonlight, while the bass and drums feign the barrage of body blows in this dark alley altercation. This is an evocative anthem to territorial street life to finish in style.

“Going Down! It’s going down tonight. Broken Bones. It’s a star-spangled fist fight”.

It is accurate to say that in Star Spangled Fist Fight, Kickin Valentina have honed their compositional and arranging skills to indisputably produce their most accessible and appealing work to date. As bassist Chris Taylor remarks, “Everything just seemed to click while we were writing it.”

Filled to the brim with driving riffs, massive captivating musical melodies, irresistible vocal hooks and facemelting solos which will no doubt have many overexuberant punters donning their Gibson Les Paul Custom Air Editions.

Those same exceedingly infectious impelling combinations are present throughout, each interlocking impeccably with their neighbours while never outstaying their welcome.  

While each member is in top form, recognition must also be given to dedicated brother-in-arms Andy Reilly (FM, Skin, Romeo’s Daughter & Cradle of Filth) on production duties, who has succeeded in capturing their vigour and spirit in such a crisp, spacious and impacting manner.  

So much I could write about this album but in the interests of (relative) brevity, I have spared you that ordeal.  

Suffice to say it is an album of such quality that it raises the bar amongst contemporaries and influences alike and is THE soundtrack to the summer’s most exuberant rock ‘n’ roll party.

Set the dial to 11 and play again and again and again.

Kickin Valentina:

Vocals/Guitar – D.K. Revelle
Guitar – Heber Pampillon
Bass – Chris Taylor
Drums – Jimmy Berdine

Star Spangled Fist Fight:
  1. Getting Off
  2. Dirty Rhythm
  3. Fire Back
  4. Man on a Mission
  5. Turn Me Loose
  6. Died Laughing
  7. Takin a Ride
  8. Amsterdam
  9. Ride or Die
  10. Star Spangled Fist Fight

Sleeve Notes

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