Thursday, January 24, 2008

Album Review:
Times New Viking - Rip It Off

Times New Viking - Rip It Off

(Matador; 2008)

Grade: 74.0%


In April of last year, most of the Range Life staff caught Times New Viking opening for the legendary Yo La Tengo. After chuckling at the band's goofy moniker, I stood back and listened as the threesome made quite a racket. They don't sound half bad, I thought to myself, and if their record sounds a little more cleaned up, I'll bet it's great. Yes, have a laugh now, because if you're familiar at all with TNV, you know that their records are anything but cleaned up, and make their live shows sound crystalline by comparison.

This brings us to Rip It Off, the follow up to last year's critically acclaimed Present the Paisley Reich, and their first for Matador Records. Like Present, the album is a batch of quick, energetic bursts of noise-y pop goodness that sounds like it was filtered through a tin can, played back on the speakers of a Geo Metro, recorded again with a pair of headphones, and then immediately sent out for pressing. Fans of old Guided by Voices and Sebadoh will probably feel all warm and fuzzy inside when they hear this album, as Times New Viking are a cassette band trapped in an mp3 world. However, in an age where decent production is just a Macbook away, its quite possible that Rip It Off will be a hard sell for many younger indie rock fans. Even the most battle tested listener will probably, on occasion, wish for a better quality version of their favorite song (currently the combo of "End of All Things" and "Times New Viking Vs. Yo La Tengo"). Still, Rip It Off is chalk full of undeniably good tunes, regardless of how they sound, and further establishes Times New Viking as a young band to keep an eye on.

1 comment:

Hackworth Artifex said...

Huh, I always hear about bands being way better live, but never because the sound is cleaner. 0.o