Here’s how I imagine the recording process went for Times New Viking’s Rip It Off: Guitar, keyboards, drums, and shouted vocals play at maximum volume around a cell phone. Studio receives call, presses sound directly to vinyl. Vinyl is brought to local playground where toddlers toss it around in the sandbox for a day. Vinyl is taped over an old Black Flag cassette; cassette is mastered for CD with treble turned up all the way.
You know those recent albums by the Raveonettes and the Magnetic Fields and how they made you think you had accidentally punctured your eardrum? They’ve got nothing on Rip It Off as far as noisiness goes. Even the reunited Jesus and Mary Chain sound like Air Supply in comparison.
But give the disc a fair listen, and you’ll find that the songs are good shout-along rock ’n’ roll numbers. One song is called “Times New Viking vs. Yo La Tengo,” but it sounds more like another three-word-named, tape-hiss-happy bunch from Ohio by the name of Guided By Voices. Like that band, Times New Viking can be very different in a live setting. Stripped of all that noise, they sound less like an experiment in aesthetics and more like a rock band. Maybe that’s a plus and maybe it’s a minus, but one thing that’s interesting about all the noise is that it means you have to be committed to listen to Times New Viking in the first place. If you can make it through their sonic obstacle course and still learn to love their songs, you’ll be in heaven when you hear them live.
TIMES NEW VIKING, Casbah, Tuesday, June 17, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $12.