People love to hate overnight success bands. The hyped release of the Vivian Girls eponymous album in 2008 left some embittered. The question: Is this all-girl garage rock band all it's cracked up to be? Ah, well. That's how it goes in Brooklyn's gauntlet of the independent underground.
The Vivian Girls' true litmus test is their sophomore album, Everything Goes Wrong. And, on that album, the trio's angelic reverb doesn't always cling to you immediately. Rather, it rolls like salty surf until, after a few listens, it's absorbed into your pores. There are catchy hooks here and there, but mostly the album creates a moodscape littered with windy vocals—think Mazzy Star—and riddled with pounding punk beats akin to the Dwarves. The lo-fi windiness reminds me of my college years when people often taped practice sessions rather than go to the studio.
Lo-fi studio recordings seem contrived, but certainly still aesthetically pleasing. And though the reverb sometimes overdoses, it mostly acts as a cohesive sheen, often morphing into alarming pitches that evoke the warning horn of semis jackknifing on rain soaked highways.
It's not the best album put out this year, but it's at least worth some of the hype.
Vivian Girls play the Union Hall Friday, Sept. 4, at 8 PM with The Beets, Fag Rag!, Electric Dandelion and Velcro Kicks. $7.