Saturday, April 19, 2014

Times New Viking - "Dancer Equired!" (LP Review)

Underneath all the lo-fi fuzz, Times New Viking provides surprisingly strong pop songs.  Their 2011 LP, "Dancer Equired!", is the only release of theirs I have, but apparently they experienced some backlash for it being "too polished" compared to their earlier works (for example, the Pitchfork review starts with "There were whispers that this might happen...").  Most of the reviews I've read compare their sound to Guided By Voices, but I'm only a little familiar with them.  To me, TNV are evocative of the Beat Happening / K Records sound.  Or perhaps the aural equivalent of Kevin Smith's "Clerks".

Regardless, their fuzzy & purposefully slightly out of tune sound is endearing, fun, and addictive.  On songs like "Ever Falling In Love", you ask yourself "is it polyphony or are Jared Phillips and Beth Murphy singing two completely different songs?"  I guess the former since it all works beautifully.  There are no bad moments, but the last five tracks (starting with "Don't Go to Liverpool") close out the LP in especially fine form. 

Standout songs: "It’s a Culture" (live), "Ever Falling in Love", "No Room to Live" (live), "Try Harder", "Don't Go To Liverpool" (alternate video), "Fuck Her Tears", "Want to Exist", "Somebody’s Slave", "No Good"

Skip 'em songs: none.

Final score: 9/10

Bonus links: LP Trailer from Merge Records, and a short 2012 documentary from Pitchfork called "Do Not Do It Yourself"

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