The Verve Pipe made their major-label debut under the direction of producer Jerry Harrison with Villains, recasting themselves in the inauspicious mold of a post-grunge act. On an initial listen, the album does little to distinguish itself from the masses, though patient revisiting reveals a band of more depth, with Brian Vander Ark's songwriting improving vastly over previous albums and more subtle aspects, like the tasteful organic keyboard arrangements, actually adding texture and dimension to the sound. The band seemed to acknowledge the misstep by re-recording (yet again) "The Freshmen" for single release and subsequent pressings, which ultimately earned them their first national hit.
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AllMusic Review by Chris Woodstra