Vivian Girls: Share the Joy (Polyvinyl) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Vivian Girls

Share the Joy


Apr 20, 2011 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

If you ever wondered what exactly Vivian Girls were singing about behind their wall of distorted sound, Share the Joy shares as many secrets about the band as it does feel-good vibes. The Girls have always displayed a wispy sort of elegance in their fuzzed-out dissonance, but what the noise pop outfit has uncovered on their third full-length—their most hi-fi record to date—is a subdued yet clear change in pace and technique for the lo-fi revivalists, which is both welcome and underwhelming.

Yet change never comes easy, and Share the Joy is stuck in a bit of an identity crisis—fragmented, as it teeters from weightless surf rock and flat ’60s girl-group pop to the hard-edged, nihilistic sing-a-longs of 2009's Everything Goes Wrong. Just when you think Vivian Girls have softened after fluffy ditties such as “Dance (If You Wanna),” the angst returns with the charging guitar lines and thunderous drumming of “Lake House,” while “Trying to Pretend” is a scorned lover’s elegy at lightening speed. But vocals at the forefront give the group an opportunity to play around with their wit, exemplified with the cheeky narration on 21st century femme anthem “Take It As It Comes,” which encourages women to “think with their head, not with their heart.” Yet opener “The Other Girls” and closer “Light In Your Eyes,” each six minutes long, challenge the band the most—and prove Vivian Girls have the endurance to sustain spiraling arrangements that delve deeper than their trademark two-minute blitzkriegs.

“I don’t want to be like the other girls,” Cassie Ramone sings on “The Other Girls,” and Share the Joy is an obvious reaction to the once-underground movement that is now bloated with wannabe’s and imposers. But perhaps Vivian Girls don’t need to try so hard—these gals were already in a league of their own. (


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