Album Review Times New Viking - Dancer Equired

‘Dancer Equired’ may disgruntle some die-hard lo-fi lover fans, but ultimately it’s a good record.

For a band like Columbus, Ohio’s Times New Viking, getting to a fifth album is quite a feat. Here’s an outfit that has continued buzzing, just below the current, making a ruckus and touring, keeping a following and most of all, keeping signed. They’re one of those acts that you sort of forget about while they’re recording and then oh, look! another record comes out and you sort of feel chuffed for them. Good on you, guys. Nice to see you still doing what you do.

Their foray into the music world, back in 2005, was brash and exciting. “What’s this? Where’s the melody? Oh wait, there it is, under all that fucked up distortion… cool.” By 2007, the lo-fi sound (and ensuing scene) was where all the cool kids wanted to be. The 2008 Shred Yr Face tour exhibited this trend with an exemplary line-up: Los Campesinos, No Age and TNV. This was the same year Rip It Off hit record stores, and everybody was all over it. ‘Teen Drama’ became a veritable anthem for this breed of youth, drowned in sound. Noise is what we wanted, and noise is sure as hell what we got from the Ohio trio.

Six years on from their debut and you wonder whether sound evolution is something the band have done good with. A label move (from Matador to Merge, represented over here by Wichita) and, it would seem, a melody move too. With ‘Dancer Equired’, it looks like the group has decided it’s time to take down the curtain, bare themselves a little, quit hiding behind their wall of noise and push some songs. The melodies that were always present, just difficult to discern, come out to (be) play(ed). From the gentle harmonies of opener, ‘It’s a Culture’, to the more wastey and mellow ‘Don’t Go To Liverpool’, TNV’s fifth outing is, in all honesty, somewhat of a relief. Sure it’s cool when a band stays “true to themselves”, but in some ways, this is still them, just a “them” that needed a little coaxing out.

For five years TNV stuck to their guns, churning out fuzzy record after fuzzy record, always welcome, so maybe it’s about time they matured a little. ‘Dancer Equired’ may disgruntle some die-hard lo-fi lover fans, but ultimately, it’s a good record. The tunes are nice, and what’s more, it’s sweet to see them a little more naked, a little more grown-up.

 

Tags: Times New Viking, Album Reviews, Reviews

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