Just fifteen years old and already more poetically reflective than most, Simon Val leads with a folk to pop-rock presence for his album Young Love, and fearlessly explores the highs and lows of precisely what the title implies.
Beginning with its title-track, Young Love introduces an organic songwriter and performer – cleanly-mixed acoustic guitar and vocals, with a simple rise and fall of short lines for that familiar folk-pop vibe.
The lyrics feel deeply genuine, as if authentically capturing a moment in time. The delivery is also naturally in tune with this passionate and pure approach, and the switch to the full-band brightness for the hook is not only unexpected but again brilliantly relevant in terms of the varying emotions involved in Young Love.
These qualities stand tall throughout the project, and always the Simon Val voice, in both tone and handling of topic, remains unmistakable.
Forever Mine follows on beautifully, heartfelt and grateful in its detailing of adoration and connection to a significant other. Then there’s the sudden electro-pop rhythm and vibe of I Lose All Words, almost dance-ready in production but ultimately still recognisable for that Simon Val vocal identity and openly loving overtone.
Arrangement matters, and even at just seven tracks, Young Love has clearly taken this into consideration. The melancholy and ache of Miss You So Bad hits with notable impact after the preceding track, this now piano-led display of longing and pain reaching out for its sudden opposition to the brightness and excitement of elsewhere; not least of all the later outright positivity of Just Smile.
The devoted and familiar sound of My Heart Texts You emerges at the penultimate moment, before the warmth and rightfully comforting Home brings things to an uplifting, inspiring finish.
Young Love is a finely-crafted collection of modern folk-pop songs, often with a twist of bigger-band identity. It shines light on a multitude of feelings, both welcomed and difficult, relating to those early years and first loves. At the same time, it presents an artist with a clearly professional and purposeful way with making music.