Times New Viking - Dancer Equired
Merge's announcement that Columbus fuzz-poppers Times New Viking's fifth album would be recorded in an actual studio gave rise to nightmare visions of ugly cleanliness hampering the band's cheery lo-fi sound. Happily, this is no tepid compromise — it's a band discovering its gifts, slicing into gently sung, manically played distant melodies with the greatest focus yet.
The expanded budget allows the hissing and buzzing to tower, and more importantly, gives the band the opportunity to develop songs that immediately threaten to take permanent residence in the listener's subconscious. Noise may overshadow all else as the crux of TNV's appeal, but Dancer Equired celebrates the sing-along element of populist alt-rock from the Cars and Nirvana ("Try Harder") to the Bangles (the gorgeous "California Roll"). And the songs fly by, allowing them to unfurl gradually — you're left wanting more by the time the shimmering notes of "No Good" fade into the distance.