The Great Valley - Ruthless
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Who? The Great Valley is a pop-punk band from Wilmington, Delaware consisting of two brothers, Nick and Louis Matos. They made their debut with the Wrecking Ball EP but have released Ruthless for our listening pleasure.
How is it? If you're expecting "Wrecking Ball Part 2," you're sorely mistaken. The band ditched the breakdowns to capture a more traditional rock vibe. While I was a huge fan of the Wrecking Ball EP, I welcomed the change with an open mind and ears. Simply put: This is mature pop-punk in the vein of Valencia and Go Radio.
The 8 track EP is a deeply personal album, as it touches on many subjects like family issues, the state of the music industry, and more. The lead single is "Dirty Work" and it's not to be confused with All Time Low. When I first heard the song, I got a huge Sugarcult vibe. It felt like I was listening to Palm Trees and Power Lines. One of my favorite lines is "Every day is a battle against myself in my head and I'm sick of it." It's a dark line that points to our often insecure selves and question how we live our lives to the standards of others. The song instantly sticks in your head as Louis belts out "You played it safe/While I did the dirty work."
Another standout track is the opening song, "Yesterday." This track could have been mistaken for a Valencia song from We All Need A Reason To Believe. The group "Whoas" alongside the "We're alive/And we're here" hits you so hard. The song's theme is all about hope and looking towards a better tomorrow and the mood is easily captured in this at the end when they chant "Together we'll get through this."
This is a band that definitely shows the potential for great things. Their music is catchy enough to be accessible for many different people but isn't so poppy where it alienates an older audience. Like I said, this is a more mature pop-punk album for people that liked The Starting Line's Direction but wished it brought the pop sensibility and youthful exuberance of Valencia's This Could Be A Possibility.