The first thing we heard from Roy Valentín was his massively punk rock Música/Corazón EP, where he invited us to hate The Strokes together and took on Bauhaus with a quasi remake of “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” The single was lo-fi to the core and a perfect nod to melodic punk rock. It was DYI affair; he wasn’t even trying, and that’s why his work came across so effortless and real. Brace yourselves because today we can hear his debut album Crónica in its entirety, and it’s great.
I already mentioned a bit of Valentín’s story in my review of Música/Corazón, but you may remember him from his former band, Elaine. After the band broke up and Valentín released the EP, Heberto Añez Novoa-–a.k.a Presidente and Entorno Doméstico founder—encouraged him to record more material on his own. Over email, Valentín told me that most of the material was recorded between September and February of last year, with Añez Novoa coming in later to collaborate, produce, and master the record. So, unlike the EP, Crónica is a well-produced endeavor, with Añez Novoa on drums on all of the songs, and collaborations from Ezequiel Bertho (a.k.a. Cheky, Algodón Egipcio/Jóvenes y Sexys), Luis Ángel Martínez (Piyama Party/Los Mundos), Xavier Nadal (Grushenka/Creamy Creature), and Andrés Morillo (Tlx).
In Crónica, Valentín shows us another side to his artistic personality. While taking jabs at famous hipster bands is always fun, there’s none of that in this record. From the instrumental track “Intro”-–which begins with a simple drumbeat and evolves into a hard, sentimental melody—Valentín proves that he’s a fine musician with vision and depth. The deep, dark bass line on “Intro” runs throughout most of the nine tracks and warns us that what we’re listening to is an album that is deeply personal and truly cared for.
His style puts him closer to The Replacements’ signature melodious punk, filled with poignant humor and sentimentality that comes across as awkward and endearing. This is rightfully so because, in real life, feelings are awkward and weird. You can hear this type of honesty in tracks like “No sé,” “Ya no importa,” and “No se parece a mí.”
What’s interesting about the album is that, a couple of times throughout the record, he has these instrumental tracks like “El Sol,” which, instead of serving as interludes, they sound headier than the rest. This one melds beautifully with the bass line on “GmFm.” The single and the album version are two different tracks; the song was remade with stronger drumming from Añez Novoa and harder guitar riffs with a lingering distortion that is pretty haunting.
That said, I would like to hear Valentín’s voice more clearly. Not everything can be perfect, right? You can head over to Entorno Doméstico to hear it for yourself.