No act broke out in a bigger way from the Brooklyn garage-rock scene than Vivian Girls. With the possible exception of Crystal Stilts (QRO live review – who stole their drummer Frankie Rose from the Vivian Girls, before she made her own way – QRO photos), Vivian Girls have been the face of the lo-fi fuzzy sound out of the borough, spanning from the high artistry of the Stilts to the party-rock of acts like Atlanta’s Black Lips (QRO live review – recently toured with VG – QRO photos), and even the girl-group fifties style making its own comeback. But unlike the Stilts and others, the Girls Vivian didn’t move forward with 2009 sophomore release Everything Goes Wrong (QRO review) – and with Share the Joy, they decline into unremarkable, forgettable girl-group garage.
Joy isn’t a difficult album to listen to; in fact, it’s perfectly nice. It’s also near-perfectly forgettable, with almost everything coming off the same, and the same is a garage-girl that’s got a bit of spook, but not nearly enough, lo-fi fuzz that they don’t do much with, and female vocal harmonies where it doesn’t matter if it’s singer/guitarist Cassie Ramone alone, or with others. A few tracks do stand out from the single sound, as “Sixteen Ways” finally brings some life to the record thanks to its road rhythm, approaching more spook on “Death” (though the hand is overplayed), and the Girls show a real sense of humor on “Take It As It Comes”. But the record begins with the too-long (six-plus minute) unremarkable garage-girl “The Other Girls”, and ends with the too-long (also six-plus minute) unremarkable garage-y garage “Light In Your Eyes”, and that’s most of Share the Joy.
When the Vivian Girls started, young Williamsburg channeling harmony-driven fifties garage-rock was a new and exciting thing, but by now, it’s old hat. And while the Girls might be the breakout of their scene, it’s a scene that’s already old hat. There’s not even the live party-garage energy that the Girls bring to their live show on Share the Joy – just a forgettable record by a band that really hasn’t done enough yet to be remembered.
MP3 Stream: “Take It As It Comes”