Ok, I know I am the last person on earth to get around to listening to the Vivian Girls. You can judge me lightly or you can judge me hard, but friend, I cannot say when I set this record down and forgot about it. Everyone was so hot over these ladies in late 2008, and I had/have a pretty vicious case of Overthosebrooklynbandsitis.
Looking for something to listen to today, I felt remiss in my duties, and I decided it was time to give the Vivian Girls' self-titled debut the benefit of a Tuesday. Because, as Amy Granzin over at Pitchfork offers, "They deflect the knee-jerk criticism the most effective way possible: with an armful of kick-ass songs." Two handfuls is more like, and so with ten songs that clock in at under 22 minutes, this album just seems so... manageable.
Listening #1 I have something to confess. I love a good short story, and I fell in love with flash fiction and nonfiction a couple years ago. I fritter away my hours reading stories of a thousand words or less. Punk and post punk appeal to me when the music has that same vigor, force, and precision- Mission of Burma's Vs. will always own a part of my heart. In this respect, the Vivian Girls are a little frustrating, because in the first half of their album they evoke this very well, before tepidly embarking on two lackluster, three plus minute long, Shirelles-esque*, doo-wop influenced pop songs.
You are at your best when you keep it under two minutes, ladies.
Listening #2 On their myspace, the Vivian Girls describe their sound as "Punk / Shoegaze / Surf" - they certainly have elements of those things, but I just can't get into it. The best of their songs is probably "Wild Eyes"- which is heady and short and evokes the Shangri-Las in a way I appreciate. I will be on the look out for their sophomore effort, to see how these musicians refine their sound and work out their intentions. In the interim, I am going to shelve the Vivian Girls in favor of a post punk/early girl groups Tuesday playlist line-up.
* Listening to the Vivian Girls makes me realize how badly I want to collect doo-wop era girl groups on vinyl.