Review: Herself ‘Spoken Unsaid’

Herself, a name that sounds like something out of a chilling film, perhaps a Hitchcockian thriller, but who is hiding under this intriguing and beguiling moniker is a serene, gentle and harmonious figure.

A soul that has found refuge in his music and songwriting during his somehow happy and sad moments of everyday life seen through a kaleidoscope coloured with heartwarming songs.

Herself 'Spoken Unsaid' Artwork
Herself ‘Spoken Unsaid’ Artwork

And the man under the Herself guise is Palermo, Sicily, charismatic son, singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gioele Valenti, one of the most musical multifaceted and prominent personage of the Italian underground music scene. A stylist of psych rock and apocalyptic folk, who embraces his magical musical blend resulting in tender ballads dictated by the whims of his mood. His musical career has seen him involved with groups such as Lay Llamas, Josephine Horn, his ongoing project JuJu, as well as jamming with musicians around the world which also includes the late Damo Suzuki.

As Herself, Valenti has released six albums, some featuring collaborations with esteemed musicians like The Leissez Fairs, a band formed by John Fallon and Joe Lawless of legendary Irish psych folk rockers The Steppes, with whom he released the 2015 lo-fi psych noise third album Gleaming. While his 2018 album, and first for Urtovox Records, Rigel Playground, is a pastoral album that bleeds from start to finish and includes a collaboration with Mercury Rev’s frontman Jonathan Donhue.

Gioele’s Herself is back five years later with Spoken Unsaid, a new album where his musical approach differs from the previous releases, and this is the magic of a poet whose mind is a continuous flow of flourishing and amazing of ideas.

Gioele Valenti as Herself emerges as a furnace of ideas, transcending traditional songwriting conventions through his incessant sonic exploration…

Album opener Nostos Algos is an instrumental intro piece that catches sinister but lovely cinematic atmosphere. My Pills is an acoustic quasi-self-explanatory ballad of lost affection, a love cry if you will without losing his self-esteem. It’s eerie, sad but with spiritual elation. As San Francisco Bay, the third track of the album, starts playing you know it’s the bright star of the album. It’s simply a little monumental sparkling pearl in a clear blue sky that brings you in mind, both vocally and musically, like the joy of The Flaming Lips.

Delving deeper into the beauty and docile journey of his happy/sad romanticism is like searching inside our souls for answers. ‘Don’t you feel that we’ve been search for gold for a year. We found only things good to forget‘ cries out through the melancholy waltzing music of Soul.

As you move to track five your room gets completely taken over by the delightful ’90s indie rock tune of We Were Friends, a song loaded with fuzz guitars and a tumult of other rousing sounds. Sand is a sad ballad full of poignant beauty where the gentle guitar and piano blend together beautifully. The album’s finale, TVDelica, mesmerizes with psych-glam rock disorientation reminiscent of Marc Bolan, a whirlwind of party madness.

Gioele Valenti as Herself emerges as a furnace of ideas, transcending traditional songwriting conventions through his incessant sonic exploration. Spoken Unsaid stands as a testament to his boundless creativity, inviting listeners on a mesmerising journey through the depths of emotion and musicality.

Label: Urtovox Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Caccamo