The Brooklyn-based three-piece became a sensation almost overnight with the re-release of their eponymous debut album less than a year ago. Their sound was listenable, connectable and with clear punk influences. But Everything Goes Wrong has none of these plus points. What it does have is 36 minutes of noisy mess made up of well-nigh indistinguishable songs.
Opener Walking Alone At Night warns of what the listener will have to endure for the following half hour or so, and this continues further with following track I Have No Fun. A stab at punk, it transpires, is not the Vivian Girls’ forte. Fortunately the first two tracks are only a minute and a half in length. After these short but not so sweet songs it would be easy to write the rest of the album off immediately.
But as the album continues, it becomes clear that, while the music is far from terrible, there is something grating and unnatural about the vocal delivery. Harsh though it may seem, it is pointy; screechy, yet sounding lazy and bored.
Despite almost every track sounding the same, and lyrics being mostly unrecognisable, When I’m Gone does offer hope with a bassline that seems to have come straight from Grease, an upbeat rhythm and less of the otherwise constant cymbal clipping. Of the album, it is easy to imagine this as the track that will be most loved.
Another track of note is penultimate number You’re My Guy. The first 10 seconds are so out of sync it’s almost toe-curling; lots of cymbals and out-of-time, lazy guitars combined with shouty vocals make for what can only be described as an interesting opening. But 50 seconds in and the noise makes way for an instrumental that is by far the album’s best moment. For just 20 seconds, Vivian Girls hit the nail on the head. A perfect guitar section, clear and excitingly melodic on top of drums with a steady rhythm, makes for a fantastic – if extremely short – section.
But then closing track Before I Start To Cry, when lyrics are clear enough to be understood, seems to concern singer Cassie Ramone telling a loved one to leave her “before she starts to cry”. A simple and relatable theme, it unfortunately seems to drag on a lot longer than its two minutes and 23 seconds.
With the beginnings of what could be a cult following over the pond after enviable live support slots that’ve received much praise, it is a shame that such positivity could not transfer to this recording. Still, Everything Goes Wrong should find fans, even if I’m not one of them.