EP REVIEW: Dina Valenz - Miles and Miles (EP)
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: Dina Valenz
EP: Miles and Miles
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Pop, Alternative Folk, Singer/Songwriter
Sounds Like: Feist, Edie Brickell, Suzanne Vega and Natalie Merchant
Technical Grade: 7/10
Weakness: Over singing, Vocal Mix, Winded Songs, EP release
NOTE: 10 star rating are reserved only for Full Length CD's.
Los Angeles based singer/songwriter Dina Valenz just released her latest CD entitled Miles and Miles in 2013. reading from her bio: Emerging as a formidable artist these past few years on the SoCal music scene, singer/songwriter Dina Valenz currently performs on a monthly basis at the Long Beach Town Center as part of their Live Music Series. Dina is still hooked (and writing hooks!) – on the joy of performing for audiences, on singing and playing her guitar and writing more songs which she hopes to licensing to television and film as she builds her solo career. She says, “I’ve done a little of everything, from acting to writing screenplays to singing in bands and a Capella – and none of those experiences are as meaningful to me as writing and singing my own songs. The best part of the creative journey has been finding myself in the process. This is always going to be what my life is about.
The CD gently takes to flight with “Miles and Miles” a mesmerizing intro piece that serves up methodical musical build against well placed earthy fretwork and striking from Valenz. Track 2 “Skinny Bitch” keeps things moving with its dynamic groove, mesmerizing 50’s instrumentation and swinging good time vocal ambience and harmonies that peaks and valleys its way through to emotional fruition. Track 3 “My Favorite Pair of Jeans” serves up a rock solid rhythm section with impressive feel against a grand slam chorus. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of such classic Feist, Edie Brickell, Suzanne Vega and Natalie Merchant. The music itself is an impressive blend of Classic Singer/Songwriter Folk and Indie-Alternative Rock elements with a Folksy aftertaste. The musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. Besides the 4 piece standard you will notice lush instrumentation with things like impressive rhythm guitar, percussive accents, lush harmonies, all built upon an impressive rhythmic section. Turning our attention now over to Valenz – she has voice smooth as silk and showcases a crystal clear Mezzo-Soprano with impressive Falsettos and vibrato. Valenz has a unique and infectious vocal persona that is both mystifying and somewhat infectious. Her vocal emotions at times can be gripping and captivating. Valenz and her band handle all the pin drop moments well. and the songwriting provides a lot of musical variety, depth and emotion. I can honestly say I was entertained the entire time, with never a dull moment to be found on this EP.
If could say anything to Valenz right now - it would be step back from the mic a bit on some of the slower parts, find that emotional pocket and ride down the intensity just a bit. I really like the voice, the passion and the crystal clear mezzo Soprano from Valenz, but at times it’s fair to say she comes on way to strong vocally even when the music doesn’t call for it. Like a bold font in your face. Its’ fair to say Valenz is guilty of “over singing” some parts very much like an actor “overacts”. In most cases "under singing" is actually a better approach than "over singing." I also don’t like how the vocals sit within the mix – way to hot. Mixes like these are a real wear on the senses. All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. A few songs take way to long to build, when they do it feels somewhat forced and unnatural. The beat on "All of My Tomorrows” sounds somewhat thin. I also typically deduct 1 star from EP releases. The full length release is a more complete snapshot to judge an artist by.
From start to finish this latest release from Dina Valenz entitled Miles and Miles is a powerful, and impressive catalogue of music. The music is very consistent, well-crafted and extremely entertaining. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this entire catalogue. The production strokes: writing and playing abilities of this production are rock solid. The earthy melodies and harmonies are well crafted and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with rich conventional wisdom. I look forward to hearing the full length CD later this Summer.