Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Pronounced Shift

Times New Viking, Dancer Equired, Merge [4/26/11]

I don't know why Times New Viking switched from Matador
to Merge, but they re-materialize on Dancer Equired minus a
few rough edges. Since they're both fine labels, I can't say whether
this marks a step up or down--guess it's more of a lateral move.

The press notes aptly and affectionately describe the trio's past
methodology as "pissy histrionics." Instead of an over-amped
garage band, however, the Cleveland combo now resembles a
peak-era Flying Nun act with a trickbag of jangle and chime.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Click here for "Ever Falling in Love" and here for the mini-docu-
mentary Hello, We Are Times New Viking from Columbus, Ohio.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Vocally, the three-piece, which shares mic duties between
keyboard player Beth Murphy and drummer Adam Elliot,
doesn't sound like the Chills, on which Martin Phillips took the
lead, but there's a musical similarity. When Elliot sings solo,
they also recall Guided by Voices. Like that fellow Ohio out-
fit, these three prefer short snippets over epic workouts.

I'm reminded of the transformation the Ponys made when they
moved from In the Red to Matador. They also shed some of their
garage trappings, though they didn't pick up as many pop moves
as Times New Viking. And the latter has always been a pop
band at heart. Plus, Murphy's bittersweet keyboard playing
continues to lend a dreamy feel to everything they do.

Dancer Equired only took a few spins to work its magic. It
doesn't herald a major change in direction; rather a pronounc-
ed shift. I wish I could claim I was a believer from the start, but
I didn't discover the band until 2009's terrific Born Again Re-
. I can't predict how old fans will react to their fifth
full-length--for me, it ranks among 2011's best releases.

Still to come: Keren Ann - 101, Sonny and the Sun-
sets - Hit After Hit, and Vivian Girls - Share the Joy.

Endnote: Times New Viking plays the Sunset
Tavern on Tues., 6/21. Image from Clash Music.

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