First Appeared at The Music Box, March 2000, Volume 7, #3
Written by Michael Karpinski
Cross ’70s "roots and influences" stalwart Big Star with ’90s alterna-jangle bandwagon jumpers Gin Blossoms and you’ll have a reasonably accurate conception of the Birmingham, Alabama band Remy Zero — more hook-happy and higher-fi than the former; edgier, less VH1-friendly than the latter. While other reviewers will invariably invoke their own multitude of muses — Brian Eno by way of Wilco; The Cars colliding with Crowded House; R.E.M. as backed by ELO — Remy Zero’s sound is ultimately, triumphantly, their own.
Whether it’s Prophecy’s grinding guitars and stutter-stepping rhythm section effortlessly segueing into Life in Rain’s soft, swirling "Mary Jane" haze, or the gently transcendent Fair — a synth-string-sad ballad that never deigns descend into Goo Goo Dolls-gooeyness — gracefully giving way to the closing track’s sweet ’n‘ bouncy, Merseybeat-gone-glam goodbye, Villa Elaine is rock-solid pop-rock, top to bottom. In a perfect world, the embryonic bands of two or three decades hence will be held to the standards set by then "elder statesmen" Remy Zero, a band poised at the edge of the millennium to shape the sound of the century ahead. ˝
Villa Elain is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2000 The Music Box