The members of Vivian Girls don’t like to waste any time. Cutting its sophomore album in less than a week, the all-female troupe (which includes Cassie Ramone, Kickball Katy and Ali Koehler) chugs through some infectious pop melodies and boisterous beats, hidden behind a mask of sludgy reverb. But for better or for worse, the songs on the disc often sound as rushed as the band’s recording process.
The Brooklyn trio, armed with tattoos and thick bangs, keeps the pace fast and furious throughout Everything Goes Wrong. Punk ditties like “Walking Alone at Night” and “The End” are a rip-roaring good time. On the other end of the scale are tracks like “I Have No Fun,” which plays out like a bratty teenage whine (that fortunately doesn’t last very long). Forays into more melodic territory yield the best results, and the rollicking “Can’t Get Over You” has some unexpectedly sentimental lyrics: “So c’mon, let’s stop the cheating / Because I can’t stop my heart from beating,” the three-piece croons.
The themes are more mature than those the group has previously tackled (album closer “Before I Start to Cry” shows even punk girls get the blues), but the semi-bored delivery and lo-fi production from the Girls’ self-titled debut still persist. Those who were taken with the band before will likely believe this album lives up to last year’s blog-induced hype. However, everyone else will probably think that Everything Goes Wrong is, well, no fun.
At least superficially, this album is a great step forward for the Vivian Girls. It took them six days to record it as opposed to the three days it took for Vivian Girls, and the songs are longer, too -- some almost twice as long as those on their debut. The tracks are darker and moodier, but as this is a notoriously divisive band, don't expect a complete reinvention that will bring the naysayers around. The punk rock influences are still there, as well as the one-take recording philosophy that brought about the accusations of posing and incompetence in the first place.
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