THE LITTLEST VIKING - The Littlest Viking

The Littlest Viking - The Littlest Viking

12 songs
34:43 minutes
***** ***
Mountain Man


It’s been already a good three years since the debut Labor & Lust by Californian prog punk duo The Littlest Viking. That’s a long time in our fast moving times, but somehow these two crazy musicians stayed somewhere in the back of my mind, so that I didn’t take much convincing to immediately subject myself to their second self-titled longplayer.

Some things have changed since last time: there are more songs, but they are generally shorter, and nearly half of the tracks even come with vocals. But first the band starts with the short instrumental opener Give Me Motörhead, beginning with an – obviously – typical Motörhead kind of drum intro before the guitar and drums tandem takes over with their familiar sound. They call their style self-confidently prog punk, and while this may be true in some ways, it might also be considered a noisy kind of math rock (not core) with several nods to indie rock. Normally I am not overly fond of bass-less bands, and especially in the case of bands like The Littlest Viking who don’t really try hard to cover the low notes, but this time it really works, thanks to the busy guitar playing and the fierce drumming full of unexpected fills. While everything may seem rather straightforward on the surface, there are enough odd time signatures to justify the band’s use of the word “prog”.

Best of all is though the middle third of the album where the band concentrated its vocal tracks. Most of the time they both sing at the same time, giving the music a strong Nineties indie noise rock feeling not unlike Superchunk or Yo La Tengo. My personal highlights are the unusually catchy Puppies Forever which comes with a sweetness that its title already promises; Mary-Louise Parker Has AIDS… A Lot may be a mean statement about an actress I have really come to like during her eight seasons of Weeds, but the songs conciliates with its wild mix of unrelenting punk and its sweet indie chorus; and finally Return Of The Mack (Redux) is an unflinching tribute to the best indie rock the Nineties had to offer.

The instrumental tracks are full of redeeming value too, as the band never shies away from its tongue-in-cheek sense of humour, but considering how great their vocals are, one might wish for them to become a vocal duo in the future. My impression of their self-titled sophomore effort is already much more positive than the one I had of their already very good debut, and we can only hope that we don’t have to wait for another three years to get their next album.

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