Vivian Girls – Everything Goes Wrong

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Rating: ★★★½☆

After riding a wave of critical acclaim with their 2008 self titled debut, the Brooklyn based Vivian Girls return with their brand of lo-fi garage-pop on the sophomore release of Everything Goes Wrong.

Having hated, HATED, their debut, I approached Everything Goes Wrong with much trepidation.  I was already coming up with snarky comments based on the album title and track names like ‘I Have No Fun’ and ‘Before I Start to Cry’. I was pre-planning diatribes asking questions like “Do bands hide behind the ‘lo-fi’ aesthetic to mask their lack of talent?” It was going to be fun tearing this thing apart. 

The first three tracks, ‘Walking Alone at Night’, ‘I Have No Fun’, and ‘Can’t Get Over You’ didn’t do much to assuage my fears. It was sloppy with bored vocals and maybe the worst guitar ‘solos’ I have ever heard.  It’s almost like, mid-song, the bass player mouthed ‘guitar solo’ to the guitarist, and feeling tired of arguing over the pettiest shit with the bass player (that’s what you do with bass players) the guitar player relented, and the unnecessary solo was born.  I digress.

Something happened in the fourth track, ‘The Desert’, though, and I began enjoying myself.  The music tightened up, the vocals become more dynamic. By track seven, ‘The End’, I became a fan.  ‘The End’ is definitely the winning track on this album, the Vivian Girls take the best parts of early Hole (yes I feel odd using that comparison, but Live Through This was and is a great album), and the garage-y aesthetic and makes it their own.  The rest of the album plays out much the same way. It’s light, airy and fun: Everything Goes Wrong is great for a road trip or a quick jog around Williamsburg (from the hipster J. Peterman catalog).

If you have one Vivian Girls album in your collection (and really, you only need one) make it Everything Goes WrongBut, and this is a big but (HA!): I get the feeling that the Vivian Girls don’t have many more tricks in their bag, and will have to step it up big time on their third release, because, while Everything is Wrong is a fun record I can see more of the same getting awfully tiresome.

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