Something must be in the air as we ready ourselves for the return of the Norwich troubadour Marc Valentine and his latest slab of power pop perfection. Yes, the voice of the power pop dandies the Last Great Dreamers is back with the successor to his 2022 debut long player ‘Future Obscure’.

Jumping straight in with the infectious ‘Complicated Sometimes’ – Marc continues doing what he does best – hook after glorious hook, without a breather, it is straight in with the new single ‘Tyrannical Wrecks’, which also highlights how much of the original sound of the ‘Dreamers’ Marc is.

Following up such a glorious single is last year’s single ‘Skeleton Key’, which shows off Marc’s storytelling prowess and blasts even more sunshine through my speakers, which is always a good thing.

As usual with Marc and anything he touches, all of the songs could easily be future singles. ‘Eve of Distraction’ is another fine slab of nostalgic magic. These songs all hark back to a carefree era, but the kicker is that the lyrics are on the ball, with what is current and a message that while bleak – we always have hope. 

‘I Wanna Be Alone’ is another power pop sensation, which is followed by a change of pace in the form of ‘3 AM Anderson Drive’, which takes me back to the Dreamers’ ‘Retrosexual’ debut of some 30 years ago.

Hitting the midway mark (no pun intended), is ‘Strange Weather’, which has seen love from none other than Stevie Van Zandt, who classed it as – The Coolest Song in the World back in ~January. Well, who can argue with a claim like that, not me?

‘You Are One Of Us Now’ features a chorus that is so catchy, that has seen me humming it, along with most of this album, since I’ve had it. Such a great earworm is a blessing and a true sign of music that will live on forever.

‘Opening Chase Theme’ does exactly what the title says and you can imagine it on a retro-tastic buddy cop show chase scene. Complete with more Na-na-na’s than any song should rightly have in this day and age. But with music so infectious, who cares?

‘Repeat Offender’ complete with its Honeycrack-esque intro is another sublime slice of pop perfection. And then without any warning, we are on the last track ‘Ballad of Walt’, the piano-led pomp-tastic tune that closes off an easy album of the year contender. 

This album picks up straight from the debut in every way, from sugar-infused pop. All of this features music that has no business in being as good as it is, but then I’ve always been a bit partial to the vocal stylings of the Valentine, back from the days of Silver Hearts, Last Great Dreamers and not forgetting their mid -’90s name change Jet. 

While his debut was ‘Future Obscure’, Marc is back with a future classic in the form of ‘Basement Sparks’. Do yourself a favour and grab a copy as soon as it hits the shelves. You can always thank yourself later.

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Author: Dave Prince