Brooklyn trio Vivian Girls craft a ghostly, melancholy pop sound that feels at home amid the current crop of younger acts taking cues from the noisier no wave of 1970s New York. Rather than sulking in the scrape and fuzz of peer acts, like Blank Dogs and No Age, Cassie Ramone (guitar/vocals), Kickball Katy (bass/vocals) and Ali Koehler (drums and vocals) work up a concoction of shoegazer punk and twee sounds bound by primitivism.
The ethereal fidelity of their self-titled debut, recently reissued by In the Red, wraps Phil Spector's wall of sound around angelic girl-group coos that sound both familiar and far away. Songs such as "All the Time," "Where Do You Run To" and "Never See Me Again" resonate with simple and addictive melodies that are both innocent and easy on the ears.
Alternating threads of gloom and elation come together throughout their songs and culminate in a wash of fleeting emotions that guide each number through a loosely conceptual album. "The songs were arranged in such a way that the first half of the album is about falling in love and the second half is about falling out of it," frontwoman Ramone explains.
When speaking about her musical influences, she's not concerned with dropping the names of artsy punk bands. Instead, she pines over Burt Bacharach of all people. "He is so brilliant it makes me wanna scream."
She's not kidding either. As she delves into what draws her to Bacharach's songwriting, the unlikely influence becomes clear; as though she's describing her own band's sound to a fine point. "I like his songs because they are both really catchy and somewhat depressing and they evoke an instant sense of nostalgia, even if you've never heard the song before. He also does interesting things with phrasing and chord progressions," she says. "That is what I aim for whenever I write a song."
Vivian Girls with Rizzudo and Tyvek. $8. Sun., Sept. 28. 8 p.m. The Earl, 488 Flat Shoals Road. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com.
Beck and Alabama Shakes...that's about it. I'm sure there's an unknown or two I would…
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I'm pretty sure he was 19.
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