Foggy Notions has its screwed on right anyway. On Friday night in Dublin city centre, for only two euro more than it would have cost you to arrive after its conclusion to dance to Eton Rifles on the cement-clad Whelans playlist, Times New Viking arrived back in Dublin with Lovvers in tow as support.
Slacker punk 09. There was still a lot of empty space around the venue by 9 o’clock, which was mildly disappointing, but barely audible fuzz-drenched blown-out no-fi art school punk is understandably not everyone’s favourite genre of music. The venue filled up to somewhere around half-capacity, I’d say, but the only negative effect of this was on Lovvers’ stage energy.
Last time Lovvers were around, they were downstairs in the Boom Boom Room at hearing loss volumes, 50% of the band playing, Wounds-like, from the floor and the singer turning the act of singing barely above the swell of noise into a tactile, audience-bothering affair. They weren’t that loud this time, and they stayed on the stage. Doesn’t mean they’re not great though.
Channelling not-arsed US punk from the 1980s through a haze of mist, with ultra-melodic lead guitar lines popping up from time to time, they proved that they can be a very fun live band without literally having to dance into the front row every thirty seconds. Which is probably an advantage in certain scenarios.
No Romantics is still their catchiest, most exuberant and best song, even though the follow-up to Think, OCD Go Go Go Girls, is plenty melodic and exuberant. Lovvers can tend to fall below my radar, essentially because they’re English, but the gig was more than enough to make me search out the old promo CDs that first made me scratch my head and wonder if I liked them.
Times New Viking also once made me scratch my head and wonder aloud, “why don’t they just do it without the blanket of fuzz”. Those were famous last words before I noticed that Rip It Off was as good as it is regardless (or because of) the semantics of it. It married US slacker punk, Kiwi lo-fi and the sound of plugging a lead into the amp before the guitar. It’s carved out of pure, unadulterate punk noise like an impressionist painting, or more likely, a Jackson Pollock stinking equally of paint and piss.
Oh, Handjob Films has you covered again, by the way:
The time I reviewed Rip It Off for the unwieldly annual review project, my customary arguing-receptacle Dan claimed that “the three Vikings are complete chancers, and make both shallow pop and shallow noise music. And two shallows don’t make a deep end.” When Dan says things like that, it pains me 50% more than statements I disagree with normally pain me, because he always coats it so well in varnish, but nine months on, I still could not disagree more.
They’re not a power-trio because they’re not tight enough to be called a power-trio (even though they’re getting tighter each time), but there’s definitely too much sincerity and abandon about Times New Viking live to ever call them shallow. They just get drunk and play loud music. They don’t really bother with singing in tune because that would compromise the loudness and authenticity of their singing. Or something.
Their new album is, and it always hurts to say this but it’s sometimes necessary, NOT AS GOOD as the last one. But to be fair, it comes off much more immediate live than it does over fifteen recorded tracks. The energy in the room never dropped because they were playing a new song.
But guess what the highlights were. Yeah, you’re right. My Head. Faces on Fire. And the ultimate parting shot, the things-fall-apart communal noisy shout-fest that is End of All Things. When you actually have a song that refers to it being the end, it’s tough to follow it with an encore, and it’s even tougher when you’re battling an inevitable zombie-like swathe of weekend Shirts in Whelans, so there was no encore (much to the chagrin of certain booing gentlemen). But it didn’t matter.
One posi-fuzz-punk-fi band for twelve euro would be the going rate. Two feels like profit. More of this sort of bill, Foggy Notions.