The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

Times New Viking: Dancer equired (2011)

El trío de Ohio que toma su nombre del tipo de letra característico del Word de todos los ordenadores domésticos, estrena este 2011 el que es su último lanzamiento: Dancer equired. El álbum presenta una diferencia algo sustancial en casi todo el sonido del mismo. TNV han decidido suavizar algo su crudeza musical y se han marcado una serie de cortes más conectados con el Indie digamos que de tendencia más ruidosa. La banda había prometido para este álbum “25% higher fidelity”. Y lo han cumplido. Desde el comienzo de Dancer equired, el trío se presenta con It´s a culture, un corte en el que predominan más las melodías y las voces que el ruido y la actitud Post-Punk de Born again revisited (2009), su última entrega, reseñada en TJB. Este camino paralelo al de The Vaselines o Beat Happening les conduce también por otros temas como Ever falling in love, No room to live, Ways to go, Don´t go to Liverpool, o el epílogo: No good, tema de ambientación de ukelele que les lleva a un extremo extrañamente relajado.
En cualquier caso, Times New Viking no iban a dejar de lado, evidentemente, su tendencia Lo-Fi-Proto-Punk, y más ahora que el “do it yourself” se lleva más que nunca. Si algo ha caracterizado a Times New Viking es su capacidad para generar ruido y distorsión, y en Dancer equired, aunque algo atemperados, como dijimos, no iban a dejar su capacidad de epatar: Try harder, California roll, New vertical dwellings, Dowtown eastern bloc, More rumours, Fuck her tears, Want to exist… son ejemplos de cómo conjugar en un mismo tema a Guided by Voices con Sonic Youth. En cualquier caso, esta dualidad no es absoluto excluyente, y se puede apreciar difuminada por todo el disco. Un disco de quizás demasiados cortes, pero que presenta momentos interesantes.
La banda está de gira en estos días por España, concretamente actuarán en Toledo, el día 10 de mayo en el Círculo de Arte; y en Salamanca, el 11 de mayo en Music Factory. Posteriormente, en Junio, subirán al escenario en Madrid, concretamente el 19 de junio en el Festival Día de la Música, fecha que se encuentra curiosamente en medio de su gira americana.

Times New Viking – Dancer equired (2011)

“There were whispers that this might happen four years ago. That was around the time Times New Viking made the jump from Siltbreeze, an outpost for the proudly abrasive and frayed, to Matador, an institution that has flirted with the mainstream since their 1990s heyday. The commercial prospects were curious: How well could they sell a band renowned for dropping hooks behind minefields of growl? Surely, Times New Viking, a trio of art-school grads and Guided By Voices disciples, would clean up their act. They didn’t. Their first LP as indie rock big leaguers, Rip It Off, opened with “Teen Drama”, a song whose every bar was so distorted, ill-tempered, and flat-out mean, it would have been almost too aggressive to try matching it as the record progressed. They did.
But that record ended up becoming a harbinger of noise to come. 2008 and 2009 saw a slew of young bands exploring pop and punk with comparable verve. The word “lo-fi” became a term nerds could use again to describe new music recorded on a budget, a large swathe of which became dedicated to mellow yellow beach energies, the exact opposite of the confrontational place where Times New Viking found their center. It wasn’t just for lack of a studio: They were a band unflinching in its commitment to ensuring its music sound definitively fucked up.
After one more equally gnarled full-length and the longest break between any such release (a startling two years) for the Columbus, Ohio trio, they’ve left for another landmark label, one run by a bunch of Matador defectors: Merge Records. Dancer Equiredmarks the end of said break and their debut as part of the Merge family. And, much like a slew of contemporaries who’ve recently made the switch to cleaner, relatively gussied-up studio recordings (No Age, Smith Westerns, Wavves, Cloud Nothings, and former labelmate Kurt Vile), it’s also their first LP without the noise that sheathed their work from the start. While many of those artists havesince released their finest work to date by stripping away a lot of the dissonance, the same can’t be said of Dancer Equired. Though revealing, this probably wasn’t the right set of songs to unveil in the process.
Opener “It’s a Culture” is brisk but out of tune, almost to the point where it feels as though all those sour notes are a simple substitute for distortion. The same problem can be heard prominently in “California Roll”, a number that sputters then sags while keyboardist/vocalist Beth Murphy makes a mess of the space vocally. And elsewhere, you’ll find careless takes in “More Rumours” and broken ukulele closer “No Good”, a song whose title feels like a setup. It’s an approach that more or less nullifies the decision to open up their sonics, and to a degree, functions as another security blanket: If these songs sound wholeheartedly tossed-off, then they also can’t be taken that seriously either. While it’s definitely easier now to discern the layers of a Times New Viking song, it’s become more difficult to ascertain whether or not this is a record that exposes serious shortcomings that were there all along.
That’s because Dancer Equired also features some truly great moments as well. While neither Murphy nor drummer Adam Elliott are particularly strong vocalists, they’ve never needed to be up until now. “No Room to Live” boasts both a terrific melody and the kind of harmonic streamlining that’s forgotten in most corners of the record. The zing of “Fuck Her Tears” more than suggests that they’re capable of crafting spirited hooks out in the open, too. This record is in no way the full-fledged leap in fidelity or accessibility they could have made, but ditching all that racket has clarified something significant: It wasn’t so effective because it obscured what they were doing, but rather, it amplified the menace inherent in their best moments. Just like in the case of “Teen Drama”, you can still hear some of that in “Try Harder” or “Want to Exist”, songs that sound like these three might gnash their teeth and bear those fangs at any second. We know they’re in there (

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10 mayo, 2011 - Posted by | Times New Viking

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