In some cases, a band's name gives you a very good idea what the band sounds like. But that isn't always the case. Some bands enjoy being ironic and having a misleading name that doesn't sound anything like the music. Take the Villains, for example. When a band calls itself the Villains, one expects something loud, aggressive and in-your-face -- perhaps metal or hard rock, perhaps punk, perhaps industrial. But these Atlanta residents don't sound anything like that; their self-titled debut album favors a laid-back, country-influenced roots rock/adult alternative approach. The Gin Blossoms, the Goo Goo Dolls, Hootie & the Blowfish, Counting Crows, and the Clarks are valid comparisons, and the Villains bring plenty of '70s influences to the table -- including the Eagles, the Band, the Doobie Brothers, and Fleetwood Mac (specifically, their poppy Lindsey Buckingham/Stevie Nicks era, not the psychedelic blues-rock from the Peter Green days). And don't let their Atlanta address fool you; the Villains have more in common with California soft rock than they do with rowdy, hell-raising Southern rockers like Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Molly Hatchet, the Marshall Tucker Band, and the Outlaws. This 28-minute CD certainly doesn't sound like the work of a band that would be called the Villains. But irony isn't the only thing they are good at; the Villains are also good at providing songs that are enjoyably tuneful. "Party's Over," "Where We Began," "Going Deaf for a Living," and other melodic tracks are very easy to absorb and very easy to like. This is a derivative album -- no one will accuse the Villains of trying to reinvent the wheel -- but it is also a consistently likable one. Adult alternative and roots rock enthusiasts who have a soft spot for classic soft rock should have no problem appreciating this promising debut.
The Villains Review
by Alex Henderson