Top 10 of 2011 (So Far) #9

Vivian Girls
Share The Joy

Four years and three full-length albums in, it’s reassuring to fans of the Vivian Girls to be able to find yourself still surprised by both the band’s consistent quality and their ability to continue developing and maturing and shaping their sound into something new without having to craft an altogether new sound. Share The Joy is still grainy and reverb-beaten, but is not nearly as dark as its predecessors. The more shaded tracks feel a little droning and drawn-out (e.g. opening track, “The Other Girls”, “Death”, “Vanishing Of Time”) whereas they might once have been dissonant off-punk anthems, thrashing and menacing and fiery. There are still a couple of songs that embody that older feel, such as the back-to-back “Lake House” and “Trying To Pretend” at the heart of the album, but Share The Joy packs a much less powerful punch than 2009’s Everything Goes Wrong. In a way, you can hear a lot more of their self-titled debut LP here, except with an underbelly of pop music to back it. Kickball Katy’s influence is much thicker on this record in that sense – you can hear evidence of her time with her side project La Sera heavily on songs like “Dance (If You Wanna)” and the swinging alt-bubblegum “Take It As It Comes”. Altogether, a damned impressive record. It’s probably not technically as good as their first two, but those are lo-fi standards that pretty much everything else is measured against, so that doesn’t mean a lot. Great live tour in support of the album earlier this year.

Favorite Tracks:
“Lake House”
“Trying To Pretend”
“Sixteen Ways”

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