Times New Viking – Born Again Revisited
Record Label: Matador Records
Release Date: September 22, 2009
A master copy on cassette? That's what Times New Viking turned in for their third album, 2008's Rip it Off. The lo-fi sound that encompassed late 70's pop and early 80's post-punk is not only evident in their recordings, but as abrasive in their live show, when I caught them opening up for Deerhunter last December.
According to their press release, the band decided to amp up production by 25%, and be kinder to their label by releasing the master on VHS. A step-up? The band's follow-up sounds like it -- to an extent -- and for good measure.
From the start, the opening "Martin Luther King Day" focuses less on the fuzz, and more on its pop sensibility. One thing that the band's new album shines more on is its bounce and rhythmic structure. The title track, under all that fuzz, is a distorted head bob, yet sinister in its (dis)harmonic progression.
Then there's "No Time, No Hope," a damn gem; "Hustlet, Psycho, Sun," appropriate for the kids, they'll love its lo-fi joy; and the closing "Take the Piss," which is less a Chumbawamba hit, and more a straight shot from a pixie stick syringe.
Born Again Revisited isn't all fun, there's some slow builds ("Half Day in Hell") and uneasy listens ("(No) Sympathy") that get lost under all that fuzz. For some, it may be the kick they're looking for, but for others, it may turn them away from the brighter moments on the album.
Times New Viking sound like a post-dated sonic blend of lower leveled recordings and naive punk angst, but digging past the surface on a couple spins is key to discovering the bit of gritty rock and roll that will hopefully bring you back to banging on trash cans, and not caring that the treble is just right on the amp while playing with your friends in the garage.