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POP MUSIC REVIEWS : Milla's Unfocused Mix Has Its Charms

August 02, 1994|RICHARD CROMELIN

Milla Vanilla? That's the flavor you might expect when an 18-year-old supermodel and actress decides to do her music thing.

But, as most of the reviews agreed, Milla's recent debut album is a legit if imitative effort, and her live Los Angeles debut on Sunday at LunaPark followed suit. Alternately evocative and overbearing, touching and trivial, Milla's manner and music were thin but entertaining, and a definite charm and authority are floating around in her unfocused mix.

Persona-jumping from goofy, wisecracking hyper-teen to scowling, in-character performer of serious song, Milla never managed to center herself--she provided no real transition from her casual mode to the theatrical, so the artifice was more evident than it should be.

If her music doesn't go too deep, its surfaces are certainly seductive and evocative. With a sort of world-music string band weaving exotic pastiches behind her, she traversed Kate Bush territory with a voice whose dynamics and interpretive skills are well beyond the standard for her age.

Actually, her voice sounds like that of a much older woman, with a ragged edge of experience that suggests either a gifted mimic or someone who's crammed a lot into a short time.

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