Behold the mighty mighty sonic sword of VALORA
Inspired by a fictional female pirate, that was the captain of a wayfaring vessel christened The Sea Witch and a predilection for eschewing a brave determination in the battle of the music business, this bold blustery six-piece rock band from Whittier, CA (just a few miles SE of LA) is bound and determined to courageously fight for your honor and esteemed loyalty.
Steering the vaunted vessel of VALORA is 22-year old singer SYD DURAN whom was recently anointed one of the Hottest Chicks In Hard Rock by Revolver Magazine.
Syd's shipmates include her sister Taelor whom plays keyboards and provides backing vocals as well as lead guitarist Ryan Villa, drummer Jared Baez, bassist Kasim Somers and rhythm guitarist Kenny Benson.
VALORA also has a special ship steward, that being an infamous 83-year old "Mouse" whom coincidentally first got his start via a vessel named Steamboat Willie.
Signed to Walt Disney subsidiary Hollywood Records by Buena Vista Music Group Chairman Bob Cavallo, the mouse's multi-media empire has provided high-profile promotional avenues for the band with prime slots on soundtracks to The Last Song and Almost Alice, the companion piece to the Tim Burton Alice In Wonderland fantasy traipse.
It also provided an opportunity for Syd to add her vocals/presence to labelmates' Breaking Benjamin on their hit song "Blow Me Away":
All of these sign posts are marking the map for the grand voyage of their debut album I WAITED FOR YOU in 2012. A musical journey three years in making, it's one that's well worth the wait and will firmly cement their arrival as one of the Best New Artists, regardless of genre.
I WAITED FOR YOU was produced and recorded by Grammy-nominated producer Johnny K (Disturbed, Staind, 3 Doors Down, Plain White T's, Straight Line Stitch) and mixed by Neil Avron (Fall Out Boy, Linkin Park).
The expansive 11-track opus also contains songwriting contributions by American Idol alum Kara DioGuardi (P!nk, Kelly Clarkson, Cobra Starship, Katharine McPhee, Carrie Underwood, Natalie Imbruglia), the "Rock Mafia" songwriting team of Antonina Armato and Tim James (Vanessa Hudgens, 78violet, Selena Gomez, Jesse McCartney, Miley Cyrus, David Archuleta, Brenda K. Starr) and Lauren Christy of The Matrix (Christina Aguilera, Hilary Duff, Avril Lavigne, Jason Mraz, Ashley Tisdale, Britney Spears).
Make no mistake. While, it's always beneficial to have acclaimed hitmakers spinning the knobs and starmakers doing their jobs, Syd Duran is the real deal, a bonafide superstar-in-the-making whose ship has arrived.
While having her own unique vocal resonance amidst a supremely powerful delivery, I hear textures of Lzzy Hale, Kelly Clarkson, Amy Lee, Ann Wilson and Chrissie Hynde with a pinch of Cher, a dash of Doro Pesch and a dollop of Sandi Saraya.
While the songs "I Waited For You," "Extreme" and "Live" have already been released as scores for an animated graphic novel based on the heroic female character "Valora," as envisioned by Syd, and brought to life by Ahmet Zappa's Monsterfoot Productions, IWFY is loaded with big bold catchy rock anthems.
"I Like What You're Doing" begins with an atmospheric bass line that slithers through your mind before exploding into a full-fledged heavyweight punch fueled by taut layers of rhythmic soothsayers.
Heart-racheting palpitators like "Forgotten," "Irreversible" and "Better When You Don't Know Better" remind one of the urgent passion of a fierce Kelly Clarkson in full form while the octave-enhanced sublime chorus of "You Make It OK" sounds like it could snuggle nicely on any of the multi-platinum Bon Jovi records.
Lighters, cell phones, glow sticks, amulets, basically anything that can be held, lit up and waved in unison will accompany YMIO one day at a sold-out arena show.
Via repeated listens to the full album, embedded nuances of the Iron Chef production team reveal themselves but what is rudimentary upon first listen to taut sonic sharpeners like "Life Hungover" and "No Matter What" is that Valora = Strength.
And that Strength is best measured by numbers, as in those that go up to 10 or in this case, that go to 11. Therefore, forevermore...
VALORA + VOLUME = VICTORY
And then when you add the syncopation of siblings as artillery in the arsenal, the volume knob might very well melt off the Richter scale.
(Duran Duran; sisters Taelor & Syd)
Musically, Duran & Duran are more akin to Wilson & Wilson of Heart than say the sister set of Alexia and Anissa Rodriguez from Eyes Set To Kill, though their audience, initially, will be made up of younger exuberant fans whom champion the systematic rock onslaught of ESTK.
As powerful as VALORA is on record, the band flexes even greater might while sailing on the open sea at night. They completed their first national tour last fall opening for 10 Years and will surely land some key slots on tours in 2012 and beyond.
Better get your passport stamped and get ready for the valor of titanic rock.
Here's hoping that in addition to Warped TwentyTwelve that VALORA snag a spot opening for Evanescence.
Let thee dark pirates unite in a valiant global flight.
For all ye rowing the wayfaring Sea Witch, we shall be Victorious!