Sunday, 15 June 2008

LIVE REVIEW: Times New Viking @ Studio 24, Fri 23 May

Having spent an evening in the presence of shit-shivering screech-merchants Times New Viking I’m no longer sure quite how I feel. What would have passed off as normal, pitch perfect hearing has been bludgeoned to a dilapidated pulp by relentless throbs of seething white sonics, ensuring every sound my aching brainbox digests is accompanied by an insatiable, omnipresent ring. Yet I consider myself one of the fortunate few - Christ knows what those camped by the front are enduring after surviving the eardrum perforating siege that exploded from the stage tonight.

So was it worth it? Given the potential implications for long-term sensorial damage, an audiologist’s assessment would probably conclude no, but having been shaken to my spinal core by a dazzling thunderstorm of drum, guitar and keys for forty minutes it would be difficult to answer anything else but one big, fuck off, yes.

Bound by a decidedly shaky patchwork of bricks and mortar, the dimly lit cavern of Studio 24 is perhaps not the safest of settings for such an oscillating spectacle of sound, and as the Ohio-born trio take to the floor, the gathering hordes look distinctly uneasy amidst these brittle surroundings. Of course, they have every right to worry, because what unfolds is a pneumatic air strike of noise intent on drilling everything before it into the ground as shards of shattered bone.

Immediately penetrating temples with a Krakatau-like combustion of decibels, the group charge into their melody-strewn brand of dirtbag punk-scuzzery like a searing hot poker lusting after the acrid smell of burning flesh. Few pleasantries are exchanged between turbo-boosting air-slicers like the rambunctious ‘(My Head)’ or the fuzz-flurried ‘The Early 80s’, but then again I don’t suppose you’re likely to discuss the picturesque splendour of Edinburgh Castle when you’re throttling your prey to within an inch of its life.

As intent as they are on sprinting through this riotous sneer of a set, the group are clearly keen to show-boat their rapid-fire abilities. Drummer Adam Elliot is a hair-flailing beast of a percussionist, pounding his skins like an amphetamine-frazzled Tasmanian devil as he somehow spews out a croak of indecipherable vocals into his mic. But for all Elliot’s hi-NRG endeavours its Beth Murphy’s un-tameable limb contortions and pirouetting keys that steal the show; transforming feedback-dazed cutlets like ‘The Apt’ and ‘Faces On Fire’ into rainbow-blotted dashes of translucent melody, albeit with a rather abrasive, head-severing edge.

And this, in the most basic of marketing terms, is Times New Viking’s unique selling point: underneath the brazen mesh of rattle and drone lies a warm-hearted interior glazed with coatings of unaffected pop splendour. For some, the ringing may never quite cease but as tonight’s crowd ventures out onto Auld Reekie’s streets all thoughts of hearing aids are far from those hedge-draggled minds. After all, one man’s noise is another man’s nous, no matter what your audiologist may say.

Rating: 8/10

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