Neon Noir

Ville Valo

From Spinefarm's Lable, "In the annals of 21st century alternative rock history there are few […]
February 27, 2023
Ville Valo - Neon Noir album cover

From Spinefarm's Lable, "In the annals of 21st century alternative rock history there are few artists who cast a longer or more peculiar shadow than Finnish Love Metal pioneer Ville Valo. After all, his band HIM were easily among the most iconic and idiosyncratic groups of the millennium. Zealously revered, gleefully reviled but impossible to ignore, their music left an indelible mark on a worldwide legion of fans. The scarlet letters stood for His Infernal Majesty. Their founder stood for something delightedly out of step with the status quo." The album has 12 songs.

"Echolocate Your Love" is the first. It has a fairly heavy sound with sythns carrying much of the melody, and Ville never sounded better. The song is slightly Pop-tinged, which is no surprise to long-time fans, and is quite catchy to boot. "Run Away from the Sun" is another winner, and so far the album is starting out well. This song is a bit more on the melancholy side, but is another catchy offering, and I find myself singing along with the chorus. The title track is another song with subtle hooks and the heartfelt sentiment of "come love me 'til it hurts." The melodies are simple, but quite effective.

"The Foreverlost" is a heavier and more energetic song. Keyboards create this somber background where vocal harmonies enter with beauty. I get more of THE CURE vibe in this song, for those who need an American comparison. "Baby Lacimarium" is another deliciously melancholy song, and Ville is the king of these sounds. If you feel yourself slowly being enveloped into the music like warm blanket, the music is doing its job. It's so damn beautiful. In Trenodia" brings a very rich and lush sound with it out of the gates. Damn, that chorus has hooks deeper than the earth. "Sing to me a love song" he croons. You can't help having an emotional connection with this music.

"Heartful of Ghosts" might be an ode to a lost soul of sorts, someone who still has skeletons in their closet if you will. This song is slower but so gorgeous. I sound like an idiot who is struggling to find the right words to describe this music, but it is drop dead beautiful. "Zener Solitare" is a short song, without vocals. It builds an atmosphere of depression, but like any romantic, you seek and desire it like a soul seeks a counterpoint. "Vertigo Eyes" closes the album; a nearly eight-minutes in length. It is fabulously depressing in every sense of that word. As the song drags on, you feel a sense of dread, but also a sense of cleansing. When he says "I'm falling for you," the butterflies in your stomach begin to awaken, and you can feel his joy.

After being a HIM fan for as long as I have, I kind of forgot about Ville once the band had their farewell tour years ago. I reluctantly took this promo, but was very pleasantly surprised by the sound. What he brings to the Modern Rock genre is a genuineness that has been missing for many years. He has a very strong sense of Pop melodies, hence where the term "Love Metal" was coined. That's exactly what this album is, but he has also take a few steps forward from HIM. In short, this is a magnificent and remarkable album that will tease your inner feelings of loss, love, everything in between, and that is life in a nutshell.

10 / 10









"Neon Noir" Track-listing:

1. Echolocate Your Love
2. Run Away from the Sun
3. Neon Noir
4. Loveletting
5. The Foreverlost
6. Baby Lacrimarium
7. Salute the Sanguine
8. In Trenodia
9. Heartful of Ghosts
10. Saturnine Saturnalia
11. Zener Solitaire
12. Vertigo Eyes

Ville Valo Lineup:

Ville Valo

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