Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Album: Everything Goes Wrong
In the Red, 2009
Rating: **** (4/10)
Shockingly, the new Vivian Girls album, out today, doesn't quite live up to its name, "Everything Goes Wrong." Several things go right, though not quite enough to push this album past a 4/10 score.
In general, Everything Goes Wrong follows very much in the minimalist vein of the band's earlier releases - distorted guitar played poorly, basic 4/4 beats and wannabe-endearing off-key melodies. However, simply by virtue of having to play a lot since their bizarrely ungrounded success last year, the Vivian Girls have got some much needed practice and have improved astronomically. They've started occasionally writing melodies with more than three notes and they even have a couple of real riffs!
The best song on the album is, far and away, "Double Vision," which features a simple but solid riff and a damn decent melody. Though the song does wear on significantly longer than it should, it actually doesn't grow completely stale - it picks up a bit near the end and thus propels itself forward. "The End" and "Before I Start to Cry" also have reasonable melodies and enough going on to maintain interest.
A number of other songs are more disappointing. "Desert" starts with a riff that sounds like, well, the first riff you might come up with when plunking around, possibly while watching TV - in other words, it doesn't seem to have had a lot of thought put into it. Then, the seong seems to redeem itself with a enticing vocal melody in the verse, only to launch into an unlistenable chorus a minute later.
As within this song, within the album as a whole, for every good moment, there are two rotten ones. Songs like "When I'm Gone" and "You're My Guy" feature melodies that make me want to jump in front of traffic to avoid ever hearing again. Despite ranging from tolerable to nauseous, the songs all basically sound the same and after listening to several in a row, I can feel my brain cells dying.
Of course, the lyrics are worst of all. Whether or not it's part of the band's highly affected aesthetic, writing lines that sound like the musings of a particularly not-bright fifteen-year-old is not excusable. It's best to try to tune the words out, or, as with nails on a chalkboard, best not to get within earshot in the first place.
Kudos to the Vivian Girls for putting out an album that has a several listenable tracks. Keep working and you'll be slightly above average before you know it! (And the funny thing is, I don't mean that nearly as meanly as it sounds.)