With Valleyheart -- their third full-length offering -- She Wants Revenge has achieved the kind of dynamic catharsis every band hopes it will survive long enough to experience: rising up out of their diverse influences, She Wants Revenge has taken flight, fully realizing a sound all their own.
Following the success of their self-titled debut, its follow up This Is Forever, and years of international touring, She Wants Revenges core duo of Justin Warfield and Adam Bravin departed their major label and took a much-needed hiatus to pursue their other interests. During this time Adam began work on a solo album, dove headfirst into his photography and toured the country as a sought-after DJ, while Justin wrote several film and TV projects, scored commercials, and honed his skills as an engineer and mixer.
Soon after, however, they came back together to produce a number of projects, from a collaboration with Emily The Strange creator Cosmic Debris and duo IO Echo, to cowriting and producing fellow Angelenos Nico Vega, remixing a lost French post-punk rarity for a project being helmed by their friend Cut Chemist, and writing and recording two self-released EPs, the dreamy and emotive rock of Save Your Soul and the dancefunk of Up and Down.
Refreshed and inspired, the boys got back to their roots, touring incessantly, sometimes taking their music to the people in a van like the early days. It was during this period that they grew as musicians and a unit while further endearing themselves to their steadily growing fan base. Now more than ever they are a bona fide four-piece rock band, and aided by their longtime associates drummer Scott Ellis and guitarist Thomas Froggatt, Warfield and Bravin returned to the studio to craft the vision that had been taking shape in their heads: a loosely-rendered conceptual effort playing out in the bands beloved San Fernando Valley.
Funnily enough, after years of living on the road, it was looking homeward to the neighborhood they both grew up in that became the launching point for the third LP they were so eager to make. For two kids who came of age in this small town just over the hill from Hollywood, the memories, feelings, images and sounds all came back in a rush; now all they had to do was interpret that sentiment in a way that was at once evocative and wholly their own.
One is reminded throughout Valleyheart that humans, no matter where they are or how far theyve come, will endlessly struggle to connect with someone who makes them feel good and yet somewhat bad too. In a sense, the bands driving two-headed engine in Justin and Adam is writing songs that never get old of a couple against the world, and at times one another, two hearts twisted as one.
In the universe inhabited by the soundtrack of She Wants Revenge, boy meets girl and its probably not going to end well but feels even that much better in its wrongness. In Kiss Me Warfields haunting baritone refrain, "I know that you'll never be right for me" reminds us so. In exploring this timeless conflict, however, She Wants Revenge has noticeably elevated its compositional sophistication.
In Holiday Song Warfield considers the ominous slalom that is the Holiday schedule; the unavoidable barometer; Where are we now? Where did we come from? And finally, will it be any different next year? Juxtaposed against this lush batch of instrumentations, the on-going pyrotechnics of young lust and loss find a bed of music more soaring, triumphant and hopeful than anything the band has ever touched on.
The concept doesnt end with the songs, as not only did Adam shoot the photos of the Valley landmarks so near to their hearts, but they are also each directing 10 short films and webisodes, one for every song, to visually represent the stories contained within the LP.
In the end, its the yearning that conquers all in Valleyheart; that behind every mournful bass line, another day awaits with one more chance at redemption. Raw and unapologetically emotional, chances are good youve been there before; the electric sizzle of a simple kiss; a testimony to the power of right now. Valleyheart is a coy labyrinth of nearly perfect connections, and like in the incendiary stomp of Up In Flames, this much is true -- the nuances of modern love are playing out at all times and at all hours.
In Valleyheart, She Wants Revenge has emerged with an album that shakes off their influences, establishing them as a creative force to be reckoned with while also proving that, in fact, you can go home again.