Both of Robby Valentine’s two albums from 1992-1993 are high on the AOR quotient, and even if 1993 was a poor year for the genre, it was made all the better by the inclusion of this album.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Robby Valentine
ALBUM: The Magic Infinity
SERIAL: 519 062-2
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Netherlands
LINEUP: Robby Valentine – lead and harmony vocals, synthesizers, grand piano, guitars * Rob Winter – guitars * Arthur Polini – bass, harmony vocals * Hans Eijkenaar – drums, percussion * Pim Koopman – cymbals * Cees van Gil – bagpipes * Soesterberg Americal School – chorus vocals on ‘Mega Man’
TRACK LISTING: 01 The Magic Infinity * 02 Miss You Eternally * 03 Only Your Love * 04 Angel Of My Heart * 05 No Turning Back * 06 The Reconciliation * 07 Don’t Make Me Wait Forever * 08 Wild Child * 09 I Need Your Love * 10 Help Me Spell My Name * 11 Mega Man * 12 Raise Your Hands
WEBLINKS: Site Link
There’s been a lot of talk recently about Robby Valentine. In 2014, his new ‘Bizarro’ album is due out very soon (at the time of writing), plus he was involved with the Aniday project from earlier in the year. However, lets wind the clock back to the early 90’s, a time when he was one of a few artists keeping it true during the era of grunge.
I bought both his 1992 debut and this one ‘The Magic Infinity’ during 1993 from the long lost CG Discs mail-order (kudos Mike Shannon), and I really should be given a sharp feather slap for not reviewing this one earlier than now. Both of Robby Valentine’s two albums from 1992-1993 are high on the AOR quotient, perhaps more so than his recent material, and even if 1993 was a poor year for the genre, it was made all the better by the inclusion of this album.
Things get off to a manic start with a whole bunch of people screaming in horror, much like a scary movie, but soon things progress through to a wickedly good dose of AOR on the title track. Valentine and the crew turn it on from the outset, a fantastic opener if ever I’ve heard. There’s a gentle piano introduction to ‘Miss You Eternally’, the song is a soft hand-brake to the opener that went before.
However, we’re back into ‘cream of the crop’ AOR courtesy of ‘Only Your Love’. Cascading synths and crashing guitar-work is carried all the way through to the solo section (and beyond), on what is an amazing song. I remember thrashing this one back in the day, yes it’s that good. ‘Angel Of My Heart’ is given some acoustic treatment, an unplugged beauty with a huge chorus. A great change-up.
There’s more sound effects and twisty turns on ‘No Turning Back’, a pomp bombast, somewhere between Queen and a handful of Euro pomp bands featured here at GDM Towers. As per usual, it’s topped with a majestic chorus and shout-out harmony vocals. Moving beyond the short one and a half minute ‘The Reconciliation’, Robby draws us into ‘Don’t Make Me Wait Forever’, a poignant piece that gradually builds momentum toward the back half of the song.
‘Wild Child’ could be ‘Only Your Love Part II’, where a similar structure is used to build the song. ‘I Need Your Love’ sounds like an off-cut from Robby’s time with Dutch pomp kings 1st Avenue. Take a listen to the verses and say it ain’t so. ‘Help Me Spell My Name’ is the second ballad here, and it’s one I didn’t really like.
However the next track ‘Mega Man’ is as big as it gets. There’s a lot going on with this one. A bagpipe intro, some heavy guitar riffing mid-song, and some choir vocals filling in the spaces. Mega is an understatement. The album concludes with ‘Raise Your Hands’, an undulating song between quiet and not so quiet passages, yet again the chorus raises the wowometer to dizzying heights.
It’s been rightly called a classic, and really – who am I to argue? Polydor released this in Europe during 1993, while the following year, it was released by the label with two extra bonus tracks: ‘A World Of You And Me’ and ‘Valentine’s Overture Part 2 (A Martian On Earth)’.
According to Valentine’s Wikipedia page, ‘Mega Man’ was also released as a single, with ‘Valentine’s Overture Part 1’ added on. By 1995, Robby’s third album (simply called ‘Valentine’) was released, but it saw the end of his European contract with Polydor, due to no singles successes nor charting action. Still, the man is very active today as we know, and I feel a sense of relief in finally adding this disc to our articles database here at Glory Daze.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)