After forming in March 2007, and releasing their debut album in 2008, Brooklyn’s Vivian Girls return with their latest album Share The Joy.
Opening and closing Share The Joy are two 6 minute psychedelic, surf-rock numbers that switch between feeling and tempo, altogether giving you a feel that it’s all a bit pointless and needless to go on for a full 6 minutes. It’s not as much the length that is the problem or the off-put. The problem is that during the 6 minute periods not enough happens, giving the songs and in-fact the album on a whole an edge that is all a bit monotonous.
If you want 3 minute, fast-paced, catchy, chilled-out lo-fi punk (bar tracks 1 and 10) then this is an album that will tick all those boxes. Songs like ‘Dance (If You Wanna)’ and ‘I Heard You Say’, lean towards the Vivian Girls of old, and will have you dancing, singing and nodding along, making you feel that they are still capable of creating sickly-sweet lo-fi pop songs, and will in no-doubt be blasted out of the bedrooms of the young and exuberant. Mid-album track, ‘Sixteen Ways’ is a particular highlight, and sees the band head in a darker and more promising route, starting out with droning guitars, rumbling drums and a vocal melody, which leans towards the darker and more sinister sound of Sonic Youth.
What this feels like is a record that has come just too late, and whilst Vivian Girls sparked into our world with their debut in 2008 and helped kick-start the indie lo-fi resurgence, it seems that they may have been away for too long. With line-up changes and two years away the band have returned with what is a perfectly listenable psychedelic, journey of lo-fi punk, but the problem is that in the time they have spent away a band in the name of Warpaint have been thrust upon us, and to be honest do the psychedelic lo-fi aesthetic to a much better effect.
Although there are glimmers on Share The Joy that Vivian Girls still posses that spark and magic which enabled them to break onto our scene back in 2008, it ultimately feels like this is an album that was forced out and that maybe they are running out of steam.
(CF for The 405)