Oceans are the Earth’s great mysteries. The coral reefs are among the most beautiful sites on the planet with their colorful array of marine life, but the vast trenches are among the world’s great mysteries. It is, therefore, fitting that veteran rockers Principe Valiente have named their third album, Oceans, because the record is a treasure trove of surprises.
“Wildest Flowers” is an eye-opening and brilliant opener that is a wonderful mosaic of sound. It fuses elements of new wave, synth-pop, goth-rock, and and shoegaze into an exhilarating epic, yet it feels fresh, inspiring, and inviting. The strong vocal of frontman Fernando Honorato, meanwhile, immediately grabs your attention with his Peter Murphy-esque timbre. The ending to this track is beautifully cinematic, stealing your breath away.
With “When I Learned To Crawl”, Principe Valiente merge together contemporary indie-rock with the rock music of the early ’80s. The song is one part Interpol with its foreboding approach yet a touch of Boy-era U2 chimes in the background. On the fantastic and arguably the album’s highlight “Strangers In The Night”, a distinct nod to The Cure is made. The throbbing bass line and the gripping guitar tinges are right out of the West Sussex legends’ songbook, but infusion of sparking synth give the track a distinct flavor. This isn’t merely another goth-rock song, but a shimmering number that could also occupy the deepest caverns of London and Stockholm.
David Bowie fronting My Bloody Valentine is the only way to describe “Untouchable”, a soaring, shoegaze number that finishes in epic fashion. Principe Valiente, though, showcase their darker, edgier side on the post-punk rocker “No Time”. The track is a mix of Joy Division-esque hynotism and Preoccupations’ searing darkness. The crystalline guitar breaking through the gloomy soundscape is mesmerizing while Honorato’s vocals are akin to an entrapped person screaming to be let free.
Not everything is bleak on the record. “The Reason Why” is a tantalizing, shoegaze number that echoes Slowdive and Cocteau Twins. Although Honorato’s vocals are crippling, the music is sensual and borders on breathtaking. “Monsters Of The Sea” brings the album to a dark, dream-like finish. The song drips with mystery, as if Principe Valiente has taken us into the deepest abysses of the oceans in search of finding something unique. Something so rare and beautiful that it defies definition and categorization, which is also how to describe this incredible experience known as Oceans.
Principe Valiente are Fernando Honorato (vocals/bass), Jimmy Ottosson (guitars), Rebecka Johansson (keys/vocals), and Joakim Janthe (drums).
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