Belfast quartet Valium’s long-awaited debut EP, This Feeling’s a Wave, is a euphonic fusion of rock and funk, that bleeds with psychedelia and a bit of blues. Sounds like a lot to fit into six songs, but they manage it, and very well.
The opening riff of the first track, ‘Love in a Headlock’, is a melodic punch of an introduction that sets the tone for the rest of the EP: tight and slick. It’s a riff heavy, stomping song, in which guitarist Ben Murray takes centre stage. His clean cut yet complex guitar lines with vintage tones make for a visceral four minutes of nirvana.
“Take two steps forward and three steps back” – lyrics from ‘Love in a Headlock’
Frontman Caolan Tomlinson’s soaring and brooding vocals work in harmony with the other instruments throughout the EP to create grungy and intense melodies that’ll stick in your head like glue (and in a good way). In particular, the rhythmic ‘Too Far Gone’ has a satisfyingly relaxed pace, that allows room to appreciate the different elements in the song, such as the warm bass tones, psychedelic licks and original lyricism. The slow pace of this track accumulates into a euphoric and danceable funk tune that forever has crowds dancing at their gigs.
Valium give a nod to nineties rockers Pearl Jam across the four tracks, particularly with the fast-paced ‘MIA’, brimming with overdrive and hip-swinging drum beats. If you ever get a chance to catch them live, they perform a pretty tight cover of Even Flow that never disappoints.
This EP is bursting with alternative belters and slow burning tunes, and its mixture of sounds is perhaps what makes it such a unique and distinctive endeavour. Valium are an undoubtedly infectious band that are throwing blistering climaxes and pulsing soundscapes left right and centre. They are definitely onto something with this EP, and I get the feeling it’s not just a wave.