Columbus' Times New Viking takes a cue from fellow Ohioans Guided by Voices, recording its fuzzy indie rock under a thick gauze of guitar noise. There's little to no production on the feedback-soaked Rip It Off, which includes zero bass or bottom end to balance out the meter-tipping squall. It's an inspired move in the ProTools age of overcompressed pap, but it also makes the album appear more one-dimensional than it really is. While many of Rip It Off's tracks sound incomplete — like GBV, TNV plays one- and two-minute song fragments that most bands would, you know, finish before releasing — there's still an undeniable melodic thread running through many of them. Rummage through the ear-piercing discord and off-key voices, and you'll hear the trio working toward pop paradise in cuts like "(My Head)," "Mean God" and "Off the Wall." — Michael Gallucci
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