After the release of a disappointing second album that sounded like a rushed copy of their debut, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Vivian Girls were just a noisy flash in the pan that were over almost as soon as they started. You’d be wrong, though, because the trio’s third album is a leap in quality and sound that is as welcome as it is surprising. Share the Joy has all the energy and noise of the first two albums, but there are three big factors that contribute to the success of this record. They got a new drummer (Fiona Campbell), who has a power and subtlety that their former drummer Ali didn’t always exhibit. They found a producer, Jarvis Taveniere of Woods, who helped give their sound some depth and space, boosting the drums and Cassie Ramone's charmingly Olive Oil-esque vocals while giving the guitars some room to breathe. Most importantly, they took their time and came up a batch of songs that had some variety and imagination. There are still plenty of uptempo noise-punk tracks that charge ahead full steam, but they also stretch a couple songs past the five-minute mark with Cassie taking long guitar solos that let you know why she got that Wipers tattoo. “Light in Your Eyes,” which finishes the album on a high note, shows how much the band has grown musically: they almost sound epic as the song builds and builds to a dramatic finish. Elsewhere, the group do hip-swinging girl group ballads (“Take It as It Comes”), moody minor-key tearjerkers (“Vanishing of Time” and “I Heard You Say”), and a nice cover of Green on Red's tale of murder and madness “Sixteen Ways.” It makes for a three-dimensional listening experience that doesn’t grow old after a few listens (like their previous albums did to a certain extent). Not many bands can recover from a disastrous album and come back better than ever. Thanks to some hard work and good choices, you can add Vivian Girls to that short list.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra