“I have a question,” announces Ali Koehler from behind her drum kit. “How long does it take English people to dance?” A good few songs if you’ve been thrown in with a boat-load of London hipsters who want to make sure they’re mussing their hair – and not to mention their nonchalant exteriors – for a worthy cause. And what better reason than Brooklyn’s delicate, female-trio, Vivian Girls?
Pushing through various swing-doors of Trinity Hall, the main area feels like the underside of an upturned boat. The high ceilings and arched beams add to the girls’ ethereal acoustics, with Koehler, Cassie Ramone’s (guitar) and Kickball Katy’s (bass) harmonies echoing as far as their gigantic shadows that tower over the crowd from the back wall.
The mantra of ‘Wild Eyes’ is repeated like gospel, sung proudly by fans of the self-titled debut album. Koehler lays a galloping rhythm alongside Ramone’s Gories-sprinkled riff, creating a hoedown in the bow before things slow down for a Chantels cover of ‘He’s Gone’. Sharing one mic, they drop their instruments and go a cappella, filling the empty room with their chorale.
A glance at the track listing of new album ‘Everything Goes Wrong’ (featuring ‘Can’t Get Over You’, ‘The End’), tells of despondency, but the tone takes a less “mosh” and more “sway” note too. New song, ‘The Other Girl’ incorporates both with a hard intro involving a ferocious metal beat that instantly melts away into poignant Interpol guitars and the girls deprive us of their striking voices for a minute-long instrumental. It would seem that with a new year Vivian Girls are bringing with them a mature sound with a clear variety of experience crammed in.
By D. Goldstein
Originally published in issue 14 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. February 2010