Vivian Girls - Memory - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Vivian Girls - Memory

by Andrew Bosma Rating:9 Release Date:2019-09-27
Vivian Girls - Memory
Vivian Girls - Memory

Few bands captured the sound of the Brooklyn DIY scene better than Vivian Girls in the late aughts and early 2010s.  With each album and 7” release you could tell the band was passionate about the changes in sound they were bringing to the “indie mainstream”.  When the band announced that they were calling it quits after their 2011 record, it seemed like no one else could carry that sound.  To the surprise of many, a wave of bands appeared in the wake of Vivian Girls, determined to bring noise pop to the end of this decade (Bleached, Tacocat and Empath all come to mind).  Still, a piece felt like it was missing, which made the return of the band with Memory all the more exciting.

Memory wastes no time winding up, instead ripping into the first track “Most of All”.  All the original pieces are present: a familiar hiss leading into an opening riff, tight vocal harmonies, and a strong bass drum pushing the track forward.  The songs continue like this, without sounding formulaic or dull in the process.  Each track tells the story of a band ready to return and what they’ve experienced in the last 8 years.  Thick, catchy guitar sounds wave through “At It Again”, “Sludge”, and the titular track “Memory” while others give way to a powerful haze of strong voices at the forefront. 

These elements all effectively remind the listener of the band that Vivian Girls once was, a group with a focus on remaining connected to their home scene, no matter where they were on tour.  In many ways, they still are that band, but they seem aware of what they’ve created and influenced.  Individually, Katy Goodman and Cassie Ramone remained creatively involved throughout the entirety of the hiatus, with Goodman forming La Sera and Ramone forming The Babies with Kevin Morby.  Hints of the outer influences can be heard on Memory, but the tracks feel comfortably lived in as if the members of the band have all returned to “home base”.  Ultimately this is for the better, and it provides a guiding reason for the band to have reformed and recorded this record. 

It’s as important now as it was 8 years ago to create these connections and influence the noise-pop sounds that permeate indie rock today.  It’s wonderful to hear inklings of this sound from newer artists (Priests, for example), but more than anything it’s wonderful to hear the band that influenced them continuing to commit to a fully formed sound and idea.  For new and old fans alike, Memory accomplishes that.

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