Times New Viking

The Paisley Reich

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AllMusic Review by

Any band that names itself with a pun based on the name of a font has automatic geek credibility. Cleveland noise rockers Times New Viking maintain that outside-hipster status with a defiance that threatens to turn into deliberate antipathy for any audience beyond the most committed lo-fi fetishists. The Paisley Reich is a forbiddingly noisy affair even by Cleveland avant-punk standards, sounding like it was recorded on a '70s-vintage cassette recorder in a concrete basement with a single microphone, this is a trebly blur of bratty-whiny vocals, feedback-laden guitar shards, needling synth stabs and lots and lots of cymbals. There are probably also drums, and possibly even bass, but the near-total lack of bottom end makes those instruments theoretical at best. Sounds like an artsy drag, right? Well, perversely, underneath all that noise and tape hiss is a load of punchy, catchy punk-pop songs with unexpectedly solid hooks and catchy tunes. There are a few pointless duds -- the untitled track just before "Bad Looks" is just 12 seconds' worth of amplified fret buzz -- but even the 56-second "Allegory Gets Me Hot" lives up to its excellent title with a sound partway between X-Ray Spex and early Guided by Voices. Once the listener makes it past the presentation, Paisley Reich is a highly entertaining listen.

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