Nico Vega
"Nico Vega"

(MySpace Records 2009)Nico Vega - Nico Vega

LA trio Nico Vega just may have had too many hands with too many distinctly different styles and ideas influencing their record. Not only is the band signed to MySpace Records, perhaps today's biggest hype machine, but their self-titled full-length debut received production knob-twiddling from pop go-to woman Linda Perry and soulful rock group Earl Greyhound's producer Tim Edgar. Add to that mixing from Tchad Blake (Pearl Jam, Elvis Costello). With all those names, it's amazing that Nico Vega emerged alive and with a completed album.

With a howl that seems rough around the edges at times and always equal parts of Janis Joplin and Grace Slick, vocalist Aja is the clear focus. Her strong vocals lead the pounding call to arms of the album's closing track, and the album's strongest point, "Beast." Nico Vega is somewhat predictably catchy with tracks like the poppy come-on of "So So Fresh" and the childish sneer of "Gravity." But elsewhere the band seems to throw in odds and ends that don't jive with the speeding and energetic majority, such as the soulful but misplaced a cappella of "Coal Miners Song."

For a debut album, Nico Vega does just enough to catch your attention with their self-titled album and get tongues wagging. The album will generate some hype, no doubt, but it does little to genuinely impress. Uneven but energetic, fun but with aspirations to be thoughtful, Nico Vega's self-titled debut is promising but not without bumps in the road.

B-

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