Chris and Dexy Valentine first generated buzz around their self-proclaimed “lovewave” outfit, Magic Wands, when the new band released its first EP, Magic, Love and Dreams back in 2009. Intrigued with the two-piece’s sparkling psychedelic pop gems, music critics and fans alike took note of the husband/wife troupe and waited eagerly for a full-length debut.
Three years later, the Valentines have obliged in the form of Aloha Moon. As the title suggests, the album is a cosmic, tropical romp. Soaring synthesizers, wispy vocals, and waves of guitar guide their listeners through rises and dips in a sea of otherworldly soundscapes. The record’s title track commences the journey with mellow, relaxing instrumentation that is reminiscent of The Beach Boys’ famous breezy hit, “Kokomo.” Dexy takes charge on most of the vocal duties, with Chris providing a nice backing harmony, creating a hazy duet-style execution that, if you close your eyes, can transport you to a warm, white sand beach.
Each track on the record continues to send its listener to a far off land through either imagery or emotion. “Kaleidoscope Hearts,” a light, soaring pop tune, makes its listener feel weightless, while the album’s single, “Space,” takes its listener through a dark intergalactic voyage via warbling, reverbed guitar and distorted vocals. Other songs pull from past pop legends, with the wavy, lucid track “Kiss Me Dead,” paying homage to the Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Just Like Honey,” and the guitar riff in “Teenage Love,” slowing down the playful melody of Cyndi Lauper’s classic “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”
Although the mood of the album can shift drastically from one song to the next, it is able to maintain a constant pace that relaxes and settles its listener. It’s this comforting yet intriguing dynamic that has landed the duo gigs playing alongside bands like The Kills, The Horrors, The Raconteurs and The Black Keys, as well as appearances at South by Southwest, Noise Pop, and Lollapalooza. It has also placed Magic Wands’ tunes in popular television shows including The Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl.
Even with so much national exposure, the Los Angeles-based twosome is still hovering just under the radar. But with the help of acclaimed producer Dave Sardy (LCD Soundsystem) on a number of tracks, I think this debut is just the push Chris and Dexy Valentine needed to prove their role in the indie scene.Aloha Moon was released April 24 via Bright Antenna/ILG Records. You can order your copy here.