A few months ago I came across a wonderful new band with a familiar sound. There were jangly and distorted guitars, raggedy drums, aloof female vocals, and singsong melodies and everything cloaked in a haze of reverb. It brought to mind girl groups of the ’60s, British indie in the ’80s, and half-forgotten California bands from the ’90s such as Tiger Trap, Henry’s Dress, and the Aislers Set. And someone else from the distant past…who am I forgetting? Oh yeah, the Vivian Girls. Whatever happened to them?
I’m kidding…sort of. The Vivian Girls came out of Brooklyn just a couple of years ago, but the hype-and-backlash cycle is so quick these days that many bloggers were tired of the band by the time they released their debut album. In the months since, we’ve had a series of new bands mining similar veins. The novelty (if you’re young and don’t remember the older bands) or nostalgia (if you’re old, like me) has worn off. These bands now have to stand on their songwriting ability or risk falling behind the competition.
If last year’s Everything Goes Wrong is any indication, the Vivian Girls may have what it takes. While there’s nothing as catchy as their first-album tracks “Where Do You Run To?” or “Tell the World,” there’s a much healthier killer-to-filler ratio this time around. Song titles such as “Can’t Get Over You” and “End” give a clue to what inspired guitarist Cassie Ramone’s songwriting, but thankfully she doesn’t wallow in grief. One song is called “I Have No Fun,” but it may be the most fun thing the Vivian Girls have recorded.
- Thursday, February 4, 2010, 8:30 p.m.
2501 Kettner Boulevard,