Viva K

Viva K

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This record begins with "Guru" as lead singer Ween Callas shrieks and sings in a vein of Perry Farrell meets Björk over a disco-ish retro beat. The tune melds a series of styles together that resembles a modern-day single effort by Siouxsie and the Banshees. The vocals are an acquired taste on the punk-like, new wave approach to "Dekoder" as Skoda and Ravi Dhar take over on guitar during the second verse. They finally hit the sonic nail on the head with the accessible, groovy, and more refined "No Better Time," with Callas' vocals not as distant as the opening two songs and in command à la early PJ Harvey or a modern-day Elastica. Musically they are quite adventurous, not relying on one format to get the point across, especially on the pleasing industrial-like backdrop on "Does It Matter?" and the electro-dance-rock mash-up of "Light Light Light." Callas doesn't have a distinctive voice, but she is capable of pulling off all of these songs with ease, particularly the disco-rock of "Who Are You" that seems to make her the love child of Karen O and the Concretes' Victoria Bergsman. Perhaps the sleeper pick is the galloping dance number "Splendour." Here Viva K wastes no time wrapping itself around the beat by Evan Haros as Callas passionately sings with the "no, no, no" recalling Sinéad O'Connor's "Mandinka." The lone aberration on the record might be the barren, straightforward rocker "Love Everybody." The closing "Ming" is haunting, somewhat eerie, and an odd choice for this album's coda.

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