Nico Vega isn't a solo artist, but a bass-less trio from Hollywood led by singer Aja Volkman, an overbearing singer with a bad habit of impersonating other, better vocalists. On their debut EP's first two tracks, Volkman stays fairly contemporary, her vocals bearing strong traces of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O and the Distillers' Brody Dalle. "Rabbit in the Bag" and "Hollywood Sign" aren't exactly good, but they're less overtly derivative than the rest of the EP. On "Let You Go," Volkman indulges herself with a fairly shameless Janis Joplin impersonation that mimics (consciously or not) most of Joplin's vocal tics with little of the bluesy passion that drove her. But even that is worlds better than the album's nadir, the thoroughly awful "Beast." If some snarky music-related website ever wanted to post a list of the worst Patti Smith impersonations ever, the shrieky "Beast" -- with its remarkably shallow and nonsensically pretentious lyrics and Volkman's over the top, so bad it almost becomes funny, deeply irritating performance -- would have to appear near the top. With a better selection of songs, Volkman's excesses would be more easily overlooked, but guitarist Rich Koehler and drummer Mikey Pena offer little more than an overview of current alt-rock clichés underneath Volkman's preening, narcissistic vocals. Nico Vega may reach a certain level of indie fame -- if nothing else, Volkman is pretty enough for the band to get offered photo shoots from lad-mag editors -- but there's little musical merit to this.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason