Goodmorning Valentine

Goodmorning Valentine

BandRockFolk

"Nothin' but hits..."

Biography

There are a lot of reasons to love Akron-based band goodmorning valentine and their sophomore effort, Steady Your Hands. More reasons, in fact, than I have space to mention in this review. So, how might you know that some of those reasons apply to you? Take this simple "yes or no" survey below: 1) The words "essential late night listening" are cause for pause and often inspire a record store field trip for me. 2) I wore out my first copy of Belle & Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister. 3) Decidedly lo-fi affairs with dreamy pop melodies, yummy atmospheric flourishes and indie-rock roots really turn me on. Literally. (In fact, just reading is getting me hot and bothered.) 4) Bands that link Americana and cuddlecore/twee-pop (admittedly, a UK term) are among my favorites. 5) Like Dylan, Tom Waits is a brilliant songwriter, but sometimes his voice really grates on me. I rarely admit this about such genius in public. If you scored more than two "yes" votes, stop reading now, proceed to your local music retailer and pick this up this nocturnal collection. Tell them I sent you. For the rest of you, read on: goodmorning valentine has grown significantly since its first release, Easter Park. The band's influences are certainly an eclectic mix (see above and add pinches of Elvis Costello, Wilco and Whiskeytown for good measure) and play a critical role informing the band's sound. That said, it is a wonder this band isn't an international sensation. Singer/guitarist Joey Beltram has a fluttering, passionate voice; his vocal flourishes have the kind of soul that would make Stuart Murdoch green with envy. He sets the mood with the ethereal and downcast "Tiger and the Leper," a chamber-pop entrée with goosebump-inducing orchestration. Other highlights include the sparse balladry of "Rock and Roll Boys and Girls," the lazy, Luna-like cuts "So Long" and "Can't Say," a bourbon-laced rocker "City Lights," the delightfully driving pop ditty "Girl," and the brassy "Why Do You Bother" – which is filled with delightfully moody time signature changes. This effort could have easily come from the 4AD or Matador label; Steady Your Hands is a well-informed collection of lo-fi pop brilliance and it belongs on a national stage. From the sounds of things, the folks in "gmv" know that already. And it will happen eventually, so don't be late. Catch up with goodmorning valentine before the rest of the country does.