It seems as if Vivian Girls were trying to take a step back in time, as far as their musical influences were concerned, with their new album Share the Joy, a decision that is seemingly for the worse. When the band released their last album, the sound was much more interesting and engaging; a happy mix of catchy powerpop tracks. Share the Joy is a bit slower, and, simply, a bit more boring. Most of the tracks are old and nothing to be excited over – having been played live by the girls for years, or tracks that sound like they didn’t make the cut for their last album, Everything Goes Wrong, or tracks that are underwhelming and dull – which is how the album as a whole can be described as well.
There are a few tracks on the album that stand out. “Dance (If You Wanna)” would be the track that fits the description of Everything Goes Wrong-reject, with its upbeat catchy repetitive guitar riffs, lyrics, and drum beats. Then there’s “Take It As It Comes,” in which the girls try their best to stay cute by trying their luck with a dramatic radio-play that I’m sure they hope most girls their age could relate to, but fail in their attempt, and the track just serves as an annoying, typical cheesy pop ballad. “The Other Girls” opens the album and takes a jab at the growing trend of powerpop girl bands; Vivian Girls want to let their audience know that they are not like the other bands and girls who play in them. Unfortunately, they are mistaken in this assumption as between the distant vocals and droning guitars, this song not only makes them seem similar to the mediocre examples they’ve used in this track, but almost worse in comparison as well.
Realistically, I can appreciate what these girls are doing; they’ve opened shows for great acts like Jay Reatard, Sonic Youth, King Khan, and, most recently, Black Lips. Their sound definitely fits the huge garage/powerpop/psychedelic trend that’s taking over a big chunk of most music scenes across the continent and the world, but Vivian Girls are mediocre. They play similar chords to, sing about similar themes as, and cover songs by similar artists that every other garagepop band has been doing over the past few years. Share the Joy is boring, but who could really be surprised when Everything Goes Wrong was kind of dull as well? Also, would Vivian Girls even be receiving as much attention as they have been lately if the band consisted of one girl and two guys, or three guys instead of three cute girls? As much as this genre of music is still growing in popularity, the answer to that question is no. This album would not be selling or gaining attention if the band consisted of either of the aforementioned, proving that Share the Joy is nothing worth rejoicing.
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