The strain of overdriven, bassless treble-snort that Columbus, Ohio’s Times New Viking cough up could, at first blush, easily take its place alongside decades of Ohio art-punk Ph.D.’s (Electric Eels, V3), and to say that Rip It Off is the noisiest record Matador ever released isn’t much of a stretch, either.
If you’re the sentimental type, this could bring a tear to the eye for the sort of tape-spliced, three-track no-fi that peaked around the time of Making Losers Happy. But nostalgia is for suckers: This isn’t lo-fi fantasy camp, and there’s nothing remotely haphazard or sentimental about TNV’s intent.
When Beth Murphy insists, “Let’s do something that hasn’t been done yet” during “Faces on Fire,” you begin to see what’s going on: thousands of lame ideas rejected and old song titles coyly repossessed, the result of which is urgent, deceptively simple, and loaded with charisma (and fuzz).
Over the course of 30 minutes and 16 songs (none of which ever makes it to anything resembling—ewww—a bridge section), Jared Phillips, Adam Elliott, and Murphy forge a near-perfect intersection of high and low art: buckets of hiss and a succession of one-mic-in-a-room guy-girl chants, all perched upon a mountain of grand concepts, art-school education, and crates of vinyl. The result is immediate songs annihilated, pulverized, and separated for seeds. Save for the 1:45 denouement that is “Times New Viking vs. Yo La Tengo,” Rip It Off burns through shit-pop melodies that can’t—try as they might—be suppressed.
Times New Viking play Bowery Ballroom
February 24-25, boweryballroom.com
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 29, 2008