audiotrack Villa Elaine

reviewed by Carey Dean Potash

Published in Issue No. 18 ~ November, 1998

For weeks I’ve been hearing this song on the radio I really liked but I could never clearly hear the name of the band when the DJ mumbled it afterwards. So I went into the Princeton Record Exchange and sheepishly asked if they had heard of a band called Lenny Nero. No? How about Emmy Hero? As fate would have it (I suffer from a delusion that CDs I want seek me out) Remy Zero was eyeballing me in the $1.99 – $4.99 section.

File this one under Radiohead meets Bono in a dark alley with the members of Queen hiding in the shadows with baseball bats.

The band hails from Alabama but has made Los Angeles their new home, frequently performing at the Viper Room. Villa Elaine, their second release, is a decent collection of songs. The mustard of Remy Zero is lead singer Cinjun Tate’s strong falsetto voice and their Brit-pop multi-harmonies. If you’re looking to hear some Alabama roots, it just ain’t there y’all.

“Prophecy” is the single that caught my ear on the radio. The hook sucked me in and knocked me on my ass. Not safe when you’re driving. I especially like the corny synthesized explosion effects right out of an ’80s metal song.

My only complaint is that Villa Elaine sounded a bit overproduced at times. They are strongest when they strip down and lose their blurry psychedelia and look to their guitars to accelerate the songs. “Problem” and “Hollow” are steps in that direction.

Apparently actress Alyssa Milano also finds Remy Zero strongest when stripped down. My Hollywood sources tell me she is engaged to head Zero, Cinjun Tate.

Let’s hope they don’t share the same agent.

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Carey Dean Potash graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in English. He works as an editor for an online news provider. He's only begun 'writing' short stories, his fiction appearing in a zine called Sink Full of Dishes and in the May issue of Pif. In his words, "I don't plan on riding horseback through the Rainforests with martini in hand at some $10,000 summer writing workshop. I've also never been a roadie for Kiss. And aside from winning 'Best Hair' in the eighth grade, I haven't won any contests." A major influence of his was Dave Louapre, who wrote a short-lived comic strip called Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children.