Label: JVB Records
Released: 8th September 2023
Nostalgic, hyperactive and sizzling with energy – Joey Valence & Brae’s first album is one filled to the brim with big beats and wise-cracking bars. It’s a style that immediately stole attention and garnered recognition upon their 2021 debut, but can the appeal hold up over 14 tracks?
The short answer – absolutely. The ‘Punk Tactics’ LP wears the Pennsylvanian college buddies’ influences on its sleeve, with Beastie Boys clearly holding a colossal place in both their childhoods, but their ability to twist that into something current and unique is what carries the project. Recorded and self-produced in Valence’s bedroom, the home-brewed chemistry is evident on every track.
Several fan favourites are featured, including the tone-setting title track, bass-fueled chaos of ‘HOOLIGANG’ and relentless momentum of ‘TANAKA 2’, which Logic himself has praised and even contributed to. Valence & Brae certainly aren’t afraid to shake things up further, as proven by the mid-song switch-up on ‘DROP!!’ and garage-rock sound of ‘STREET PIZZA’; this is a mish-mash of funk, punk, rock and rap with a heavy hip-hop grounding.
Formidable ambition and vigour aside, the duo’s infectious desire to have fun permeates their endeavours to date, and this record is no exception. Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cultural references are dished out generously; each track can be vibed to at surface level or appreciated deeper upon closer inspection of some truly bizarre lyricisms.
Trading verses with enviable fluidity, it’s hard to believe this pair of twenty-somethings were just months away from sidelining their dream for a more conventional life. Star Wars, Mortal Kombat, Power Rangers, anime and memes galore… whether any of this will even make sense in time is debatable, but this is Joey Valence & Brae’s moment, and it is glorious.