Set For Life
Just to warn you: There’s gonna be a lot of side comments here–like this. It’s that kind of album.
The Villas are a husband-and-wife musical duo from Allentown PA (which means they’ve heard more Billy Joel jokes than you or I will ever make). Bill Villa plays assorted guitars, writes nearly all the songs and sings most of the leads in a voice that bears a disconcerting resemblance to Elvis Costello. His partner Angie plays lead guitar on the lion’s share of the songs, sings harmony and an occasional lead, and co-wrote a tune or two.
On their best songs, both here and on their debut Secrets, the Villas show themselves to be fine songwriters in the power-pop style, and there is nothing wrong with the performances either–the couple are talented musicians backed by a sympathetic and highly competent band. But that Elvis Costello thing (a vocal comparison Villa must be dismayed to keep hearing) has passed from incidental comment to full-blown distraction. It is hard to concentrate on the strengths of the Villas’ accomplishments (and they are many) when all you keep thinking is, “Jesus Christ, this guy sounds like Costello, it’s un-fucking-canny.”
Now, this is my problem — and sounding like EC certainly is not the last thing a young pop/rock band would want to do — but it is, at the very least, a double-edged sword.
The Villas: http://www.villasongs.com/