Monday, April 25, 2011

Album Review: Times New Viking - Dancer Equired

If you’ve listened to any of Times New Viking’s previous albums, you might not recognize the band on Dancer Equired.

The decibel meter-crushing wall of fuzz, a signature of the band, is gone. The songs here are frayed at the edges, but the lyrics and individual instruments are now discernible.

This gives Dance Equired a completely different feel than anything they’ve recorded before. A large percentage of the band’s energy on earlier records came from the violence of the volume and the ferociousness of the fuzz. Now everything is driven entirely by Times New Viking’s keen sense of melody.

With 14 tracks in just over 30 minutes, the album moves quickly. Each song is an injection of immediate melody. They’re likely to pierce the listener suddenly (they call them hooks for a reason).

Some of the songs sound like they’re on the verge of falling apart — “Try Harder” is a particularly jangly bundle loosely held together with some guitar rhythm — but others are more precise and stand out.

“Fuck Her Tears” doesn’t let up on the melody for two minutes and it’s hard to resist the urge to get up and move. The sunny tones and laid back vibe of “No Room to Live” make it an easy listen.

Those looking for more loud and shocking levels of distortion may deny the appeal of the record at first, like I did, but Dance Equired is difficult to resist for long.

Dancer Equired is out on Merge Records April 26. Times New Viking will play Local 506 on June 2.

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