Trio packs polyphonic power in concise debut
Washed in swathes of reverb and twee-twinged triadic harmonies, this self-titled debut from Brooklyn's Vivian Girls romps and rattles by in less than 22 minutes. The effect is an on-the-nose affair with banged-out, cluttered tracks in no need of curtain-call outros. Oft-inscrutable lyrics add taut punk rock tautologies: “Everyone is everyone is everyone” the girls mew in “Damaged,” while “No” features only melodic extrapolations of its titular word. At times, slipshod drumming or brazen vocal delivery—and with them, the trio’s precious charm—allow breakneck exuberance to best craftsmanship. But songs like hook-heavy “Where Do You Run To” and twisted “Tell The World” pull the reins back, revealing the band’s blend of art-punk and shoegaze-pop to be capable of strong and steady variations on the theme. Even with a sprawling lineage that weaves The Wipers in with the output of labels like Slumberland and K, the Vivian Girls’ vintage aesthetic is employed here not as a crutch, but a compelling battle-cry for the disappearing art of rock ‘n' roll pith.