Much like the frenetic pace of their songs, Brooklyn’s Vivian Girls have wasted no time in recording a follow-up to their hyper-celebrated debut album of last year. A lot of the press lauded on the girls at the time seemed a little too contrived, a little too pandering, as if this young three-piece were the first girl group to string three chords together and create their own Love Buzz.
At the heart of it, the Vivian Girls were incredibly punk rock, there were no ribbons and bows to their sound, and that kinda of fearless DIY spirit was worthy of noting. With Everything Goes Wrong those elements which made up their sound — the brash beat, fuzz guitar and doubled harmonies, together with their oft-repeated love of 60’s girl groups, surf music and love of Portland punk band The Wipers, have conspired to make an album that is beaten, bruised and broken but still manages to wipe away the tears.
Like its predecessor, Everything Goes Wrong was recorded in an expedient fashion, taking three days longer than the marathon three of their debut. The most impressive observation is how little things have changed, witnessed in the opening sprint of the bittersweet “Walking Alone At Night” and the bored punk blitz of “I Have No Fun”, which barely deviate from their girl’s original path. It’s lyrically that things really open up, which like the dark threat of the album title, begin to pay off after repeated listens.
Cassie Ramone comes up with the perfect pop couplet on “Can’t Get Over You” with “I shouldn’t give you one more chance/but my heart just stopped when you asked me to dance”. The track echoes the girl group spin of “Where Do You Run To” from their debut album, but it just amps up the emotion and tender garage buzz. Ramone’s guitar solo here is a treat, in a Buzzcocks “Boredom” kinda way but anything else would seem out of place.
The weak spots on Everything Goes Wrong are few and far between. “Tension” and “Survival” are Vivian Girls by numbers, the latter a nihilistic thrash that doesn’t reach out and grab you like the broken heart, lovesick pining of tracks like “The End” “You’re My Guy” that gives the album its charm. There’s nary a bright side on the record, in fact it’s sad faces all around, Ramone asking “When everything’s gone wrong/will you sit around and miss me when I’m gone?” on “When I’m Gone”.
“Before I Start To Cry” closes the album in a sad slow-strummed waltz, leaving you thinking what a grim fucking album this has been. Everything Goes Wrong actually lives up to its name, the track ending abruptly with the sound of an explosion, or was that just the sound of another heart breaking? Truly awesome stuff. Perhaps finally the hype that was lauded on the first record is actually justified here. Maybe I didn’t get it the first time, but I get it now.