Villette - Demo 2

Bill Cummings 08/01/2006

Rating: 4/5

The best indie bands of the '80s and '90s: what did they have in common? An aesthetic. It wasn't just about the music for them, they opened doors to new worlds full of literature, art, ideas, whether it was the dark aesthetic of the Cure, the melancholic literary passion of the Smiths, right through to the Manics and their early situationlist aesthetic that kicked against the system with its unique brand of angst and politics. All of these bands stepped out of the comfort zone and touched people's lives in ways that Keane, Coldplay et al never will.

Villette are a band attempting to build a similar individualistic aesthetic, which is highly admirable in an unsigned band. It's all there: the glamorous androgynous look, the sound that balances beautifully somewhere between the indie folk of REM, the delicate sexual mystique of Suede and the vital literary longing of the Smiths.

Track one, “Drama Girl" is an example of their growing confidence. Stepping up from their good demo from a few months ago, it depicts a band that is learning how to weld glamourous melodies onto their already impressive melodic urgency. (“Drama Girl /Life's the Stage in Action/To Shake the World/We could have made it happen”)

“Devotion” is full of romanticism, a sense of tragedy, twin pronged rhythmic bass and rhythmic Marr-esque strumming fire this song across the tracks, and Paul's vocal is melodramatic, longing yet effecting. His voice all early Stipe posturing mixed with a dash of Morrissey in its tumbling repeated refrain, Neil's delicious backing vocals adding up to a thing of precious beauty.

Last up is “Something Real” which originally appeared on their first demo. Its urgently strummed and insistent rhythm puts me in mind of a bareback horse ride through a dark woods being hounded by a headless horseman. Its lyrics are desperate, longing and melancholic, but filled with a poetic passion. It may only be a demo with its musical rough edges, but it's great.

When I commented in my last Villette review that some may view their love of style, Rembrandt, and Literature as pretentious, this wasn't meant as a slight because personally I think we desperately need bands that step outside the realms of the ordinary, clichéd rock and roll references, a band that is capable of touching people's lives in more than one way. Villette might just be another of these bands.

With a growing, interesting and raw live reputation, the band are increasingly backing up their image with music so good that it will surely open the doors to bigger things for Villette in future years.