Vivian Girls
Vivian Girls


2.5
average

Review

by Lewis P. STAFF
October 8th, 2008 | 32 replies | 12,216 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: holy hype?

There are 21 minutes and 27 seconds on Vivian Girls’ self-titled debut. In those 21 minutes are 10 songs about– well, I don’t know what the lyrics are. Vivian Girls is one of those lo-fi albums of the most whimsical proportions: this is girl-fronted surfer pop named after heroines of a graphic novel, and the point seems less about caring about what they’re singing about and more about just getting there. So, yes, this is meant to be fun and no, I don’t think you’re supposed to analyze it. This is the kind of album that– before they BLEW. UP.– you could find on blogs between the new Mars Volta and Grouper.

Now, being re-released under label In The Red, Vivian Girls is getting the full treatment, taking critical praise and following the 2008 mantra of being the Small Band meeting the Big World. I mean, didn’t you hear that the band sold out of all their first edition copies in just two weeks? Or three, maybe four. I’m not sure. All I can really gather from this press release is that, thankfully, Vivian Girls don’t aim to break new ground but I am to take the innocence of their sound as a New Wave-influenced refreshing wet slap to the face in the wake of all their “sonic competition.” So I remember No Age and I put that on instead.

And there it is. I simply do not want to listen to Vivian Girls. I’ve had it for nearly two weeks now, and in the time it took this all-girl trio to break it big in a overflowing “New York loft-pop” underground scene, I’ve just found the patience to construct a decent sentence to support a completely indifferent opinion. There are some pretty melodies to this noisy pop stuff, like when the chorus of “All The Time” breaks down into cymbal clashes and a chorus of coos emit from the static. The one-two shuffle in “Damaged” is the album’s sweetest pleasure, elevated by sunny vocal harmonies and a well placed electric arpeggio. “Where Do You Run To” hits gold with the refrain of its title, and “Never See Me Again” is poised to become a raucous country rocker before it shifts simply into frantic, cymbal-clashing shoegaze. All these moments hit the right spot when the mood strikes, which just isn’t enough.

The problem could very well lie in the production. Working at breakneck speed, Vivian Girls is sloggy, hampered by the cloying feeling that the lo-fi shtick is simply too on-the-nose. All the songs sound alike as background noise (though the foreground doesn’t clear the fog), fit with an overpowering percussion, nearly indistinguishable guitar chords, under produced vocals and a bass that barely registers (except when it begins as the focus, as in the echoing chambers of “Such A Joke”). Critically, I must take this poor production into account, though my instinct tells me that that is very much the point. So, critically, I try to observe how Vivian Girls works as fun, self-aware pop disguised as shoegaze-punk-surf. It doesn’t. Is there potential here? Sure, but when I can’t place my finger on what exactly the problem is, it’s hard to see that Bigger Picture.



Recent reviews by this author
Jenny Hval VisceraYALL Drink From Between Our Hair
Deerhunter Halcyon DigestWavves King of the Beach
Circulatory System Signal MorningAnimal Collective Here Comes the Indian
user ratings (44)
Chart.
3.3
great
trending alt & indie albums

El Pintor

The Hunting Party

AM

0

Comments:Add a Comment 
Zebra
Moderator
October 8th 2008



2647 Comments


sounds terrible

DFelon204409
Emeritus
October 9th 2008



3995 Comments


Ahhh new york loft pop, my thoughts precisely.

AggravatedYeti
October 9th 2008



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

my friend from BK thinks these chicks are the shit...ehhh.

They're alright, 'Such a Joke' & 'Tell the World' are pretty cool I guess.

jorge22s
October 9th 2008



172 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

OK, it not fair tu put it a 5 rating, but i like this album, maybe a 3.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 9th 2008



15732 Comments


so why did you give it a 5

poweroftheweez
October 9th 2008



1290 Comments


Good review. 10 songs and not even a half hour. That's no fun at all.

Doppelganger
October 9th 2008



3124 Comments


giving 5 making ;you it not fair ? ?!!

Elixirs
October 10th 2008



93 Comments


10 songs and not even a half hour. That's no fun at all.
is this sarcasm it better be!

DFelon204409
Emeritus
October 10th 2008



3995 Comments


Spat, I actually think it's AMG that's doing it too.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
October 10th 2008



3995 Comments


Well, I remember seeing in somebody else's ratings that AMG had to be weighted very high up to make sure that the rating is
what it is. If you try to isolate p4k's ratings and assume that all the other ratings are given an equal weighting then:

x*85 + (1-x)*[(70+70+70+50)/4] = 75 then x = .5, meaning p4k has 50% of the say on that one. However, I'm pretty sure AMG
has some extra weight as well, which probably means that sputnik has a rather devalued weighting. Pretty lame.

This Message Edited On 10.10.08

DFelon204409
Emeritus
October 10th 2008



3995 Comments


Ya that's what I was thinking. AMG probably gets some say but p4k takes over. That's interesting to see the Guardian apparently owning it there. Let's just pretend that sputnik's weight is upwardly mobile instead of just lame and devalued.

plane
Staff Reviewer
October 10th 2008



6094 Comments


Pretty sure magazines are weighted higher than online publications and then it depends on popularity of the online publication.

acespeed
October 22nd 2008



1 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I saw that thing on metacritic too and it threw me for a loop. I mean, this album's alright, but the way that critics are falling over themselves to laud these girls is a bit beyond me. Maybe they are trying to make up for the early 90s or maybe they are glad that indie pop became disaffected? I don't know. All I know is that I'm not going to trip over myself to laud these girls but will give them a terrorist fist jab if they come through my part of the country.

Kiran
Emeritus
October 23rd 2008



6001 Comments


Don't like.

YourBiggestFan
November 12th 2008



22 Comments


The production is one of the best parts! Put on some headphones and it just envelopes you.

Docking it for having a short run time I thought was odd, I mean, that's just not what they're
about. Substance, I realize, is also in the ears of the beholder, but I certainly think that
theres something to this album.


This Message Edited On 11.12.08

plane
Staff Reviewer
November 12th 2008



6094 Comments


I'm not docking it for having a short run time.

YourBiggestFan
November 17th 2008



22 Comments


could have fooled me

plane
Staff Reviewer
November 17th 2008



6094 Comments


i did

timbo8
January 19th 2010



618 Comments


last.fm "highly recommends" Vivian Girls to me (I've been into lo-fi alot lately)...but from what I've heard here and there...I don't know if these girls are for me

plane
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2010



6094 Comments


i like this now 8)



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy