Times New Viking - Rip It Off (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Times New Viking

Rip It Off (2008)


Having a gimmick will get your band noticed; however, it tends to wear thin after a while and cause great annoyance and dislike amongst critics. Times New Viking are a lo-fi loving trio who have stepped into gimmicky territory. Their early 2008 release Rip It Off uses guitar, keys, drums, and dual vocalists to bring us fast, energetic pop songs in the vein of Mates of State and rawness reminiscent of the Sex Pistols. However, someone on team Times New Viking decided that as a band with a name based off of a font pun, they should run their entire album through a digital meat grinder to come up with the most grainy, distorted sound ever committed to a major label-funded release.

No, I get it. I understand the appeal for lo-fi recordings. I'm a fan of the lo-fi. You can see me rocking out to Guitar Wolf whenever you want to. But the sad part about this album is that it comes off as too forced. When I can record a better sounding album through my laptop speaker, you have to be doing something wrong. And I wouldn't even be complaining, but the distortion levels are so high that most of the melodies are lost to the white noise permeating every note that pushed itself into the red.

And I can't help but find it, well, gimmicky. Which sucks.

That being said, there are some gems on this album. "(My Head)" rocks out with some great Jesus and Mary Chain-style progressions while "Faces on Fire" is a toe-tapping, driven rock song. "Off the Wall" is one of those tunes you wouldn't mind zoning out to. "Times New Viking vs. Yo La Tengo" features some great proto-punk guitar riffing.

But most of the other songs just get lost in the noise. Maybe I'm missing something by not seeing the band live, but I can't seem to play the album loud enough before the distortion hurts my ears. And you know that has to say something about the tonal range of those high mids.