The Littlest Viking - Labor & Lust

10 songs
37:46 minutes
***** **
Nova Youth


They have a strange name for a band from California, but that’s not everything weird about The Littlest Viking, a guitar and drums duo that labels its music progressive punk, although it comes much closer to instrumental math rock with the occasional vocal part popping up here and there. Joined on CD by a bass player, they make sure that their sound is also covered adequately in the low frequencies, resulting in ten spirited compositions that are full of lyrical guitar melodies and swift drumming. While instrumentals often lacks the catchy recognition value of vocal music, The Littlest Viking have chosen song titles full with cultural references. Fortunately, Robert Palmer Is Du For A Critical Revalution has nothing in common with this late singer’s smarmy pop effusions, and Theme From Magnum P.I. didn’t turn out to be a retake on that Eighties TV show’s theme.

At times they remind me of local math rocker Mutiny On The Bounty before they added vocals to their songs, and maybe that’s the only criticism that sticks. Instrumental music, no matter how well played, rarely comes with such memorable melodies that the compositions stick. As it is, the ten songs on the band’s debut are an entertaining ride through every imaginable corner of the math rock genre, and the jazzy guitar playing makes sure that The Littlest Viking can garner more interest than your average instrumental band. Their sense of humour is infectious, and matches their witty songwriting. Released on their own label Nova Youth and coming with a refreshing transparent sound, Labor & Lust is sold for a moderate price, which should be incentive enough for every fan of intricate rock music to lend them an ear.

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