Album Review

Dancer Equired!

Dancer Equired!

By Times New Viking

Merge
7.3 / 10
16th August 2011

By Vincent Michaelsen


Dancer Equired marks album number five for Times New Viking and somewhat surprisingly it’s the first time we hear much of a change in direction from the Ohio three-piece. Having made a name for themselves with a class of low-fi bordering on inaudible, it has taken the group up until their most recent LP to be drawn away from garage style tape recordings and into the studio. While some may balk at the disappearance of the hard grit veneer which largely set the tone of the group, only so much can be said with another album of static clad drum beats and distorted vocals. Dancer Equired does expose Times New Viking as less revved up than previous albums, but it at least offers a refreshing listen on what are some good tracks.

That said, Dancer Equired isn’t a squeaky clean record by a long stretch either. In some ways it seems like the band have made compensation for the lack of hiss and static with a dedication to some pretty loose playing. The off-time/off-tune vocals most apparent in tracks like ‘Ways To Go’ can get irritating at times and create somewhat of a monochromatic wash over the record. This modus operandi of jammy sing-alongs matched with the font referencing band name does come off as a bit geekishly indie, making what may be a natural performance seem rather planned and directed.

What I do like about the album is the number of good-time melodic hooks the band has packed into some relatively simple songs. ‘Try Harder’, ‘Downtown Eastern Bloc’, ‘Don’t Go To Liverpool’ and ‘Want To Exist’ are all stand out tracks excluded from the above criticism. ‘Try Harder’ is probably the track most similar to the band’s previous work with a ballsy chorus line less common on this album. ‘Downtown Eastern Bloc’ And ‘Don’t Go To Liverpool’ feel like songs that probably have always existed in the music of Times New Viking, though forever shrouded with a thick layer of grime, the subtler aspects in songs like these have not, until now, been able to bloom. One of the album’s less hurried or crowded tracks, ‘Want To Exist’ shows a calm not often displayed by the band. The dual vocals work well here in a less sloppy environment, and mark a point that might have better closed up the album than the two songs which follow.

Dancer Equired isn’t an album that takes a whole lot of getting used to or one that really demands a focused listen, personally I’d rather keep it for spring and give it a whirl when one’s attention is more focused on just having a fun time.






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