Times New Viking Born Again Revisited Review

Album. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

Your speakers don’t require a servicing – that’s how the band is meant to sound.

Chris Beanland 2009

No, your speakers don’t require a servicing – that’s how this band is meant to sound. There’s snap and crackle aplenty, but not so much pop on this fourth album from Ohio’s Times New Viking. But that’s the way they like it.

Fans of high fidelity might be dismayed by the constant fuzz on this record, but many others have been lapping up TNV’s lo-fi howls for some time. Darlings of the style press, they garnered a clutch of glowing reviews for their previous Matador album Rip It Off and are near the top of the trend-o-meters.

To these ears, though, there’s a touch of the emperor’s new clothes about it all, and diversity isn’t a strong point of the trio. That said, the three certainly manage to hide some catchy indie tunes underneath the laissez-faire production. The album’s title track is a standout song, and so is 2/11 Don’t Forget.

And there’s clearly an appetite for what Times New Viking proffer. Youngsters like No Age and Deerhunter, who look back to Sonic Youth for inspiration just as TNV do, have played on tours, and become friends with the arty threesome. This has created something of a movement which probably has indier-than-thou sorts encouraging All Tomorrow’s Parties to act as de facto sponsor for the scene.

Born Again Revisited isn’t an essential album, then, but it is a curious listen. And one which – even though at first it seems disappointing – does reward repeated listening by peeling away that trademark lo-fi lid and exposing the songs that lie within. The band even claim to have in increased the fidelity on this album “by 25%”- and that’s “corroborated by Matador’s own technicians”.

And that’s one of the few jokes you’re ever likely to get out of the super-earnest world of the art-rock underground.

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