Times New Viking – Rip it Off

Times New Viking
Rip it Off

I have an idea and it just might work. Let’s get some of the worst recording equipment we can find, record about sixteen songs (if we can call them that), turn the treble up to 20 and make an album! We’ll also make sure the guitars are grating and practically unlistenable and it doesn’t matter who sings because you won’t be able to understand/hear them! No, that’s not my brilliant idea but it is the premise for Times New Viking’s Rip it Off and ripped it, they did.

This trio, which hails from Columbus, Ohio, has concocted one of the edgiest and roughest albums I have ever heard. Sure, it’s short (at just over 31 minutes long) but that can’t save the messy, jagged and thunderous noise this band can create. And this is coming from a huge Pavement fan but yes, Times New Viking has succeeded in scaring off those fans as well.

Songs like “Mean God” and “Come Together” are upbeat, catchy songs but the lo-fi zeal and sound balancing kill the music. Even the opener, “Teen Drama” sounds like a cool guitar riff off of Pablo Honey but once the voices come in and boisterous drums and a second guitar line crunches in, all kinds of musicality are thrown out the window.

In many ways, it sounds like Times New Viking were going to place all their chips on the fact that the lo-fi experimentation would be novel enough of an idea to pull the album together. In many ways, it’s just noise at such an extreme rate, volume and manner. Many other publications—both in print and on the web—have hailed the band’s lively and energetic playing as something amazing. This writer doesn’t see it that way at all.

Some of the songs on here like “End of All Things” actually sound like underneath all of the noisy feedback there is actually a melody and good lyrics somewhere there. Others, like “My Head,” are screeching, intolerable songs that could loosely be called songs.

I’m not really sure what everyone else seems to be in love with here. I made a conscious effort to hear this album at least fifteen times, just in case I ‘missed anything.’ And I can honestly say that a third of those times, this sounded and felt like one loud, annoying warbling of noise. Other times, when I truly focused, I found a few bright spots. When all of the distortion cuts out around the 2:10 mark of “End of All Things” I thought, “Wow, I wonder how good this would be if they always played like that.” It’s just too bad that it only happens once because everything else on this album is lo-fi misery.