Love In Color (the album, released 2000)

Review by Jeff Marsh, D.o.A., 9/7/2000

Alek Vila is another singer/songwriter, but he’s not just some guy with pouring his heart out with an acoustic guitar. Instead, Vila crafts some very tight, very restrained pop songs that are centered as much around keyboards as the guitars. There is definitely a feel here that Vila grew up on the pop music of the 1980s, but rather than sounding like he’s rehashing the same old sound, he uses his unique voice and guitars to give the sound a more modern touch.

At times, Vila reminds me of solo artists like Marc Cohn and Chris Isaac, his voice especially reminiscent of the latter. But some songs use more keyboards and synthesizers for an almost Bowie-esque effect. These songs tend toward the love song genre, but there is enough variation of style and sound to keep them interesting.

“Belief” starts things off with some synthesizers providing a backdrop to some nicely flowing guitar pop. When Vila’s voice comes in over a low-bass, singing “I Believe,” I’m reminded of more intense 80’s style bands like Depeche Mode, but the sweet vocals for the rest of the song take that sense away. The keyboards take second stage on the more melancholy and sweet “Dumb Decisions,” one of the strongest tracks here, especially as his voice reaches, almost longingly. And then Vila changes things again, using piano and some excellent guitar on “Safe in My Keep” for a much more light-hearted, even airy pop feel. And Vila continues along those styles. Some songs have heavy synthesizers for a more 80’s feel, like “Horizon” and “Control.” Others are more pop-focused, using a lot of guitar and a nicely flowing structure, like “Thank You.” And still others show a greater intensity and blending of styles, my favorites being “Contact” and “Taste of Heaven.”

Vila’s not necessarily breaking ground on this album, but he’s combining a lot of different styles to make some very nice and often quite moving pop music. His voice is deep and emotional, and his songs have that personal touch that most dedicated singer/songwriters are able to get across. Despite the reminder of those pesky 1980s, I can’t help but enjoy these songs.

Review by John Taglieri, IndieA&R, 2000

Out of Los Angeles comes Alek Vila. Alek writes smart songs with very different lyrics. Although his subject matter is no different then most, his approach is. His lyrics are not your run of the mill lyrics. Deep, moody, but memorable. He has a knack for saying what he feels without being cliched. The production on the album is very good, with a lot of textures to keep your ears busy on every pass. After a few listens, I was still finding new little things in the mix. There are even some very nice, almost electronica sounds used, but in a way as to enhance his sound and not take away from the feel of what he was going for. The vocals could be a little louder in some spots, but over all the mix is very good. Alek has a nice, full sounding low tenor voice and it is very pleasing to listen to. He also has a nice style in how he approaches his phrasings.

A pretty laid back CD, it is an outing for someone looking for good relaxing CD. Unlike a lot of singer/songwriter’s out there today, Alek brings some different qualities to the game, qualities that are very welcome in a world so full of pre-fabricated, contrived music. This is for music lovers who are tired of the radio and looking for something new and worth listening to.

Overall, a good outing and definitely one to look forward to the next release from.

Review by Don Kimenker, Earbuzz.com, 2000

Alek Vila takes a step into the future with sounds and writing that has flavors of 80’s psychedelic English Pop, while moving forward with gorgeous production and clear, accessible, and endearing vocals... the CD is a complete music work – and Vila, with his attractive voice and obvious songwriting/performing talents, seems destined for bigger things. Cool CD.

Review by Mike McGuirk, Listen.com, 2000

Intimate, synthesized love songs with breathy vocals and tight 80’s melodies. Vila revisits the heyday of big-budget Reagan Era radio, adding a few very effective modern electronica touches along the way.

Review by David Morris, Audiogalaxy.com, 2000

Soulfully synthesized, sultry and seductive songwriting based on a life lived large.

music and lyrics by Alek Vila
backing vocals by Lisa LaMont (tracks 3, 10, 11)
Octaphone® by Richard “Doc” Bochenek (track 3)
mastered by Steve Hall, Future Disc Systems

©1999 Racing Heart Entertainment