Vincent Vincent And The Villains
Jess Weiss 13/05/2005
They say you shouldn't judge by appearances, but I think that, in the case of Vincent Vincent and the Villains, you entirely can. With their slicked back hair, vintage cool clothes and trilby hats these four London guys could have stepped straight out of a fifties gangster movie, and this retro influence underpins their music heavily. In short, they are just as cool as they look.
Recently labelled 'rockabilly' in the media, the Villains ardently deny this saying, 'anyone who's been to a real rockabilly show will know that's not us', but attracting labels such as this could be construed as the rite of passage so many new indie bands have to face when attracting their first major media attention, and if they are going to last as a band, hopefully their music will speak for itself to undermine whatever crass buzz word they have been carelessly labelled as.
According to NME, Vincent and Charlie are the 'new Pete and Carl', although again, they feel this is not justified putting it down merely to the fact that they have two front men and pointing out that the two Libertines were not the first to use this formula.
VV+V's musical influences too seem to stem from further back than the Libs, with not many current bands having key references points in their sound. Vincent also attributes his vocal style and sensibilities to Jonathan Richman, sharing this influence with Art Brut's Eddie Argos. The two bands will be on tour together later this month.
VV+V are so different to current fashions, with bands such as the Bloc Party, Kasabian and Kaiser Chiefs currently in vogue, it seems they are creating their own trend, and with the '50's rock revival' featuring in a recent issue of NME they will soon be well on the way to their own scene. At present they say they don't know any bands near them, musically or location-wise, and thus don't feel part of a scene, associating themselves indirectly with the 'anti-hero' ethos that is coming through in British music at the moment.
When asked if they plan any guerrilla gigs to raise the bands profile Vincent Vincent answers quickly, 'No, we play for the pandas. They're having problems you know- they could become extinct.' And this is about as political as the band gets, preferring to take inspiration from things more direct to their lives to motivate their songs, as well as 'lack of money, lost love,' and, surprisingly, 'strange wrinkly old men you see sometimes', as Charlie said.
Sadly they don't expect to be appearing on the festival stages this summer due to missing the Camden Crawl where many of the bands were booked, but to get your fix of the Villains from their rather cool website at www.vincentvincentandthevillains.com, where their first single is available as a free download.
Their new single, 'Blue Boy' is out on Young and Lost Club Records, and they recently treated some of their fans to an intimate, sweaty gig in the basement of the Rough Trade store in Covent Garden where they played both their crowd-pleasing singles, B-sides and all, as well as some other songs. It also gave them a chance to meet some of their fans and sign a few copies of 'On My Own'.
In short, VV+V are everything you want from a band- a cool, unique trademark style, both musically and visually, with killer tunes updating the best of the fifties with a modern punk edge. Though they may not yet quite have the substance to become your new favourite band, they are nonetheless something special. Watch for them. Ask for them.