Make no mistake about it; though the new Times New Viking (TNV) release Dancer Equired is sonically miles different than their back catalog, Dancer Equired is by no means a sell-out. Those familiar with TNV’s earlier work might be surprised by the shift in focus from raw pissy energy to songcraft but these guys still bring it! Not unlike Guided by Voices before them, TNV makes raggedy, joyful guitar pop and also like GBV, eliminating the hiss and pop of home recording equipment takes nothing away from their exuberant gang sing-along. In fact, some may find this recording too DIY, however no one can deny the fuzzy catchiness of these songs.
Despite only releasing albums and touring for seven years with three labels under their belt, Times New Viking have only recently started recording in an actual studio and using studio-quality equipment. It would seem, however, that their charm was not in their Fisher Price equipment but in their exuberant songs and ramshackle performances.
TNV is made up of Beth Murphy on keyboards/vocals, Adam Elliott on drums/vocals, and Jared Phillips on guitar and these guys take an all-for-one approach. Often Beth and Adam sing in an out of key unison. This further cements the gang approach. There are more mid-tempo numbers on DE than on any previous TNV releases. Slower numbers like “Ever Falling in Love” or the jangly “No Room To Live” brood rather than burn but uptempo rockers like “Fuck Her Tears,” a fist pumper of the first order, and “It’s a Culture” balance out the more mature numbers. The band’s mix is interesting – guitars, drums and vocals are all mixed in a wash; each fighting for your attention … but this fight is among friends, more like a fight club than a street fight.
I see the slowed down songs and better audio as an artistic move to make better music rather than an audience grab. However, their new and current label Merge, is home to many of indie rock’s largest acts, including Arcade Fire and Spoon. After listening to Dancer Equired, I expect that Time New Viking’s infectious garage rock will be making a similar huge impact on the indie rock world.
Words: Stephe Sykes