The Villas: Secrets

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By David Fufkin

This CD made its way to me through David Bash, the fine music critic and contributor to a myriad of publications including Amplifier, Goldmine, and Bucketfull of Brains. He’s very picky, and he likes this a lot. From the initial listen, I agreed that there are many reasons to like this, including the warm Elvis Costello/Richard X. Heyman-style vocals, the compact, understated arrangements ala Chris Stamey-era dB’s, and lushness of sounds ala Phil Seymour-era Dwight Twilley.

I “experienced” this recording. The experience was one of warmth and, yes, that overused word, love. The beautiful photos and the obvious love, chemistry and camaraderie between the couple that are The Villas burns through, allowing the recording to have presence. You want to spend time with the recording and bask in it for awhile. The inset “kissing” photo is special in its public celebration of the passion, pride and love for what they are doing and for each other. I “love[d]” that photo.

The opening track “Just Like A Genius” is classic, laid-back Elvis Costello-like pop in a Richard X. Heyman style: understated delivery, casual, but pointed. “Pull You Back” continues with the EC feel, reminding me a a bit of tracks off the dB’s debut, which rocked so many people’s world in the late ‘70s. “Always Ending” is a nice ballad in an Eric Carmen solo/Kyle Vincent vein. “You’re Laughing” sounds a little like The Sinceros (when they are good) or Dwight Twilley.

In this modern day music business filled with manufactured bands with less soul than Milli Vanilli, this recording should break through with those who seek out melodic music. A really nice recording that brings you into the welcoming world of The Villas.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/villas-secrets/