Villa Cola - EP

Owain Paciuszko 09/08/2010

Rating: 3/5

Unashamedy 80s influenced post-something Londoners release their debut five track EP. Seconds feels like Blondie to the degree that it could conceivably have been a leftover from Liam Lynch's Fake Songs project under the title Fake Blondie Song. As joyful as its swishy synths and bouncy bass is it's inescapably indebted to Debbie Harry et al, and can be warmly regarded as a nostalgic nod rather than as a truly original and exciting piece of pop.

Ranya Dubé's aloof vocal serves as a doe-eyed counterpoint to the insistent drums and ascending bass line of Modern Lovers, she's perfectly pitched for the distant 80s vibe they set their sights on, and they do hit the target. To See Her sounds better, balancing its surf-pop sunshine stylings against a meaty, scuzzy bassline to produce something that sounds different, kind of like The Chalets covering The Breeders. Nothing Is As It Seems goes a little into Joy Division territory with its hyponotic rhythm and penchant for fuzzy trance inducing bass, it's off-set by Ranya's feathery, optimistic vocal.

The closing track is most probably a refence to the Velvet Underground track Venus In Furs, except their take on the titular inspiration is a skippy, light-footed 80s pop number with stabs of processed chamber strings and washes of icy synth. Ranya's vocal is mired in an effect that makes her sound like she's singing halfway down an underground tunnel, at odds with the upbeat, retro buoyancy of the surrounding soundtrack.

Villa Cola will not be upset that this sounds like a long lost relic of the late-eighties, they may be a little disheartened that it feels like a lesser product of the era, but hidden amongst these colour-by-numbers tunes are a few moments where they begin to establish their own identity; particular on To See Her. As far as debut releases go this is an immacuately produced record, glistening with the kind of neon shimmer that would make the Pet Shop Boys and may please fans of current, similarly pitched retro project Neon Neon.