The Littlest Viking - Labor & Lust [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Littlest Viking

Labor & Lust [12-inch] (2010)

Mountain Man

The Littlest Viking compose a head-bobbing, guitar-weaving strand of slightly punky and frenzied instrumental math rock with Labor & Lust that spares no words (because there are none, really) while remaining an inherently fun and nicely varied listen.

The LP opens with the head-spinning finger-tapping and guitar histrionics of "Joe the Actor" that get surprisingly spacey towards the end before going into a stuttered motion. It's pretty cool, and while most of the album seems to dabble in this mood and atmosphere akin to a less pressured Don Caballero or something of that sort, it's the smooth, opening dalliances of "Theme from Magnum Pt. 1" and "Jock Jams Vol. 4" (it's got a few throaty gang shouts) that feel more human and land more in that post-American Football scene. It's definitely a refreshing change of pace and a warm sound that always resonates well.

There's a little bit of musical disarray here, but it works for what the band's going for. "I'm Queer for James Iha" wanders a bit with some fussy drum fills randomly interspersed, but when it transitions to a yawning spectrum of rhythm and melody (topped with slightly nasal vocal "ahhh"s), it's a gripping flutter.

If you don't mind the near-complete absence of vocals and lyrics, Labor & Lust is a pretty steady and enjoyable listen if you're looking for a lighter, airier Tera Melos brand of this stuff, or even dig the decade-old throwback sound of This Town Needs Guns. Labor & Lust shows how adept the Littlest Viking can be at either mode.

Joe the Actor
Robert Palmer Is Due for a Critical Revaluation
Jock Jams Vol. 4