Times New Viking

The world of DIY noise-pop is a different place now than when we last heard from Ohio trio Times New Viking. In 2008 their Matador debut Rip It Off gate crashed the scene and sounded like a major malfunction in the recording room with red lined production drenching what sounded like good pop songs. It arrived with due critical acclaim but now seems quite run-of-the-mill due to the constant stream of like minded music that has descended upon us ever since.

Whereas the master recording for Rip It Off was delivered on cassette the followup, Born Again Revisited, arrived on VHS and claims to feature "25% higher fidelity." After hearing opener Martin Luther King Day you may start to get excited about this fact. It's the most coherent song they've given us and peals away some of the tape hiss to reveal great song structure and shining vocals. Don't be fooled as this coherence is short-lived and with the arrival of I Smell Bubblegum we're back in the grit and hiss that carried with it Rip It Off.

This isn't really a criticism but merely a minor disappointment. The abrasion that dominates the next few tracks seems rather too familiar now. But things have changed with this release and without sounding like they give a monkeys what other bands are doing these songs show a greater maturity. None so effectively as No Time, No Hope. With its chiming guitars and booming bass this song gives due space to the vocals, an element much overlooked with this band, and as the narcotic organs swirl into place we get a damn near perfect song in this genre. More highlights include the Japanther-like These Days and the anthemic Move To California.

Born Again Revisited has a pleasing amount of change to it after the wealth of DIY that has come since its predecessor but also enough of Times New Viking's trademark rawness. It's far more layered and varied and that extra 25% really shows in the gleaming high points mentioned. With the genre plodding on - albeit in a somewhat tired manner now - it's up to pillar bands like this to pave the way to new lands and this is a good start to the journey.