A product of the burgeoning Brooklyn scene, Vivian Girls attracted a lot of attention and acclaim over its 2008 self-titled debut album – along with a lot of reductive backlash. The trio’s enthusiasts cite the group’s attitude and infectious merging of ’60s surf rock, punk, shoegaze and garage rock as reasons why the band is breaking new ground, while critics and haters are likely to denounce the band’s sub-par musicianship and repetitive three-part harmony songwriting as reasons why the band is nothing special.
Everything Goes Wrong will certainly not win over any skeptics, as Vivian Girls keeps its aesthetic pretty familiar, with the same recognizable lo-fi thrashing and reverb-infused vocals filling the album’s increased 44-minute running time. The majority of the songs on this sophomore album could just as easily have been on the first, and nothing particularly unique or innovative stands out. It is, however, very distinctly Vivian Girls-esque, creating that well-known droning, anodyne effect, while still managing to sound just as raw and aggressive as before.
Most of the songs are straightforward noise pop, relying on the usual linear melodic structure, catchy hooks and lead singer Cassie Ramone’s enigmatic voice to sustain a song for an average of two to three minutes. It’s a formula that works well for Vivian Girls, as songs like “Walking Alone At Night,” “Can’t Get Over You” and “The End” exemplify.
One notable point of interest is that Everything Goes Wrong seems to be headed in a moodier direction, as despairing tones and lyrics suggest, yet that simultaneously seems to be one of the things that makes listening to Vivian Girls such a fun, unbridled experience.