Times New Viking

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Dig Yourself (Siltbreeze, 2005), 7/10
Present The Paisley Reich (Siltbreeze, 2006) , 6/10
Rip It Off (2008) , 6.5/10
Born Again Revisited (2009), 6/10
Dancer Equired (2011), 5/10

Ohio's Times New Viking, fronted by Adam Elliott and featuring keyboardist Beth Murphy, heralded the age of swaggering lo-fi shoegaze-pop, a fusion of sloppy instrumental mayhem and catchy vocal hooks that Adam Elliott called "romantic nihilism", something like the marriage of Dead C and Pavement. Dig Yourself (Siltbreeze, 2005) was their manifesto. Their style was more erudite than advertised, referencing classics from different eras while pretending to be totally illiterate. Lion & Oil is a psychotic dance-punk orgy with hard-rock riffs (halfway between B52's and Joan Jett). The Statue Pt II resurrects the neurotic rhapsodies of the Velvet Underground with an apocalyptic coda worthy of Jimi Hendrix. The incandescent Velvet Underground boogie returns to bury the litany of Skull Versus Wizard. The Statue Pt I wed the worst excesses of blues-rock of the 1960s (Captain Beefheart) and of the new wave of the 1970s (such as the Residents).
A stronger melodic emphasis tames the ferocious rock'n'roll of We Got Rocket. There's even a soulful nostalgic elegy, Indian Winter. But their true nature is better impersonated in the indecent bacchanal of Fuck Books, with shouted male-female vocal harmonies that have little melodic or romantic appeal.

Present The Paisley Reich (Siltbreeze, 2006) cleaned up the pop element to sell it to a broader audience, and in the process also shortened the averager song duration.

Amplifying the noise component that was dormant on the first album, the whole of Rip It Off (Matador, 2008) is covered with thick eardrum-piercing guitar distortion. In some cases the melody is only chanted (Teen Drama or shouted (Come Together) and there is little else than the distortion to justify the song. In a few cases there is a real melody soft and catchy a` la Flaming Lips in My Head and especially Off The Wall, childish and languid in The Wait, even poppy in the too brief Drop-Out, with more organ than guitar) The energy level tops the scale in RIP Allegory, a one-minute garage rave-up wrapped around a demented choral singalong, The Apt, a hysterical banging rigmarole, End Of All Things, a drunk punk anthem, and Faces On Fire, a pounding ditty that without the noise could be a Fastbacks hit.

By reducing the sonic impact, Born Again Revisited (Matador, 2009) revealed how much of their ideas were repetitive and trivial. Hence the collection sounded like a bunch of leftovers from previous albums, with a few at sounding accessible with a tidier sound (Martin Luther King Day, No Time No Hope) and a more prominent role for Beth Murphy's keyboards.

Continuing to move away from their eccentric roots, Dancer Equired (2011) was beginning to sound like faceless radio-friendly pop muzak with no particular highlights (possibly Fuck Her Tears).

The EP Over & Over (Siltbreeze, 2012) contains the catchy but trivial Sleep-In and more childish ditties.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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