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The Vivian Girls

Vivian Girls

Format: CD   Release Date: 09/30/2008
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At 21 minutes long Vivian Girls' debut album is over almost before it begins; it flashes by in a cloud of sludgy distortion and hissy noise. The trio belongs to a proud heritage of noise pop that started (as do so many things) with the Velvet Underground, went through to the Shop Assistants and early My Bloody Valentine in the mid-'80s, and continued on to Black Tambourine and Tiger Trap in the late '90s. Along with current bands like Times New Viking, Vivian Girls take their cues from their predecessors and cover their melodies in fuzzy gunk. It's a winning formula, as the bands mentioned previously have proven. Vivian Girls don't add much to the formula here as they race through the ten songs at a breathless pace, submerging the guitars in a sludgy murk and barely pausing for breath. The vocals sound rushed and off-key, the harmonies are flat at times, and the drums often fall behind the beat as the rest of the band races for the finish line. If you demand precision and timing from your pop music, you'll be aghast at the trio's lack of professionalism. But what Vivian Girls sacrifice in chops, they gain back double in energy and immediacy. The sound of three people ripping through hooky tunes without regard for pleasantries and taste is one of the joys of rock roll, and Vivian Girls do satisfy on that account. The album could have used more variation; the only ballad on the album ("Where Do You Run") is one of the highlights, and proof that the band doesn't need to bash everything out all the time. The bashing sounds pretty good, though, and a couple of the songs like "Tell the World" and "Wild Eyes" match up well with the best work of their influences. This is a fine introduction to the group, and if Vivian Girls stay out of fancy studios and keep cranking out good songs, they might come up with something as classic as Will Anything Happen or Tiger Trap. ~ Tim Sendra, Rovi

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