Vivian Girls - Everything Goes Wrong
Henry I, King of Olde England, famously expired due to a surfeit of lampreys and God knows I’m starting to know how old ‘Enery felt, as the globe is currently drowning amongst a surfeit of inconsequential indie bands who just can’t stop releasing records. In more abundant times these chancers would have been subsumed and lost like white noise, but we’ve now endured fallow year upon fallow year and, rather than admit this, critics have taken to promoting bands beyond their station. Step forward The Vivian Girls whose particular talent, it would appear, is to combine two disparate genres and reduce them to something less than the sum of their parts.
Everything Goes Wrong is resplendent with ill conceived trebly thrashes which lead one to the conclusion that five of the six days it took to make this record were spent in searching, in vain, for a guitar tuner. 2009 has seen some great girl-band music released with The Joy Formidable staking out the noisy, guitar driven ‘classic’ indie territory and The School making hay with the Shangri-Las formula. What The Vivian Girls do, on ‘Can’t Get Over You’ for example, is take these two formulae and bludgeon them into something utterly drab and colourless. They repeat the task on ‘Tension’ which takes the guitar wash that characterised the early Ride eps and combines this with the chorus of Television’s ‘See No Evil’. Needless to say the end result is fundamentally flawed.
Trends being what they are we are supposed to clap like seals and applaud the Vivian Girls, or whichever identikit ‘lo-fi’ outfit is being hawked around this week, as the greatest thing since the Velvet Underground discovered class A drugs. That trend is grinding to a juddering and final halt here however. Each year the British public are asked to swallow the fact that a record number of school leavers have gained top A level grades; required to believe that these kids are inherently more intelligent than their predecessors. We all, of course, know this to be counter-intuitive and as it is with grade inflation so shall it be with indie rock. Everything Goes Wrong isn’t great, exciting or even, gawd help us, challenging, no it is, in fact, dreadfully dull. The Vivian Girls are drowning not waving and we’ll leave it for others to toss them a lifebelt.