Friday, 21 November 2008

Times New Viking- Stay Awake EP (Matador)

As ever, the unique Times New Viking sound is in place on this new EP. In case you're new to this malarkey, read recorded from the next room onto a dictaphone in a storm. If you can past the lowest of lo fi feel, then there are nuggets of gold buried in the dirt.

On 'Call And Respond' an oscillating keyboard riff gets scuzzed and rolled under the simple thrash of drums and guitar. The song is ostensibly a pop song, but rolled in tar, feathered, and sent mud wrestling. Dirty pop, if you will. Although there's no Christina Aguilera in sight (thankfully).

Channeling the inner crazy, 'Pagan Eyes' lasts just over a couple of minutes, with almost the only lyrics “Pagan eyes, pagan eyes, everywhere I go there's just pagan eyes.” It is still brilliant.

A flourish of Indian music starts 'No Sympathy', before a tired sounding keyboard gets dominated by lethargic vocals and audio shrapnel conjured from the guitar. These are not criticisms, by any means. The components unite into a cohesive globule of heartbreak.

The production almost drowns out the band on 'Sick & Tyred', the vocals smothered in an extra layering of static hiss. The momentum easily carries them through to the end.

'Hate Hate Hate' whirrs past at 90 miles per hour, all wrapped up in 58 seconds of rapid drumming, shouts and chants. Seven of those precious seconds are a slowburn fade out at the end, a much needed pause for breath.

The joy of the cheap production is that it makes the listener work harder to extract the indie pop melodies they disguise so well. For a band with one guitar, one keyboard and a drummer the songs tend towards simplistic. But there is an honest greatness hidden underneath the one take fuzz of this EP.

The whole 5 track EP will only use up 11 minutes of your busy life. No excuses. Buy it, schmuck.

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