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
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
The Statue Pt II resurrects the neurotic rhapsodies of the
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
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
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.
Continue 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).
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