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Viva Stereo - Optimism Is Not A Curse

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 26 / 9 / 2004

Viva Stereo - Optimism Is Not A Curse
Label: Viva
Format: CD


Engaging debut album from new Glaswegian band, Viva Stereo, which recalls both Primal Scream and the Velvet Underground

Viva Stereo hail from Glasgow and divide their time between their native city and their second spiritual home of Manchester. Their music is reminiscent of the modern-sounding Primal Scream and also of the early Velvet Underground. 'Optimism is Not a Curse', their debut album, was produced by the Reindeer Scetion's Marcus Mackay and the Tennage Fanclub's Brendan O' Hare. The album is opened up with 'Cooper Wire', which is very lo-fi and trancey and has a lazy, but confident vocal which recalls the Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie during their 'Screamadelica' era. 'Cabin Fever' follows. More ravish, it sounds like a slower version of the Primals' 'Swastika Eyes'. 'Try Harder', which is more experimental, has jangling guitar throughout. Its bass is deep, its vocal is grainy and tortured and half way through it changes tempo and becomes more urgent to great effect. 'Memo to Sleep' has quiet vocals and an electro drum machine vibe. It starts of by recalling Liverpool's It's Immaterial, but by its end it has blown up to become a groovy indie disco party number. 'Caustic' has spoken word storyelling vocals and firmly picked guitar lines, but with its rave-style drums, it becomes more progressive as it develops adding brass and elements of jazz, and also throwing in some post-rock for good measure also. 'Seeping Wounds' is trancey with a tortured vocal and becomes faster as it progresses. 'When The Tourniquet Gets Undone' has sad violin and trumpet and a jangling guitar. It becomes quickly rocky sounding like a more interesting U2, then suddenly halfway through it goes quiet, and then starts it again sounding this time like an animated version of Jack. 'Jesus Son' and 'Quiescence' both again recall Primal Scream. The former finds the band in a dance mood, while the latter is slower. 'Wake' features a soft guitar with slow vocals and starts off sounding quite chilled, but then starts to rock out halfway through, while the well-crafted 'Honestly' recalls Tindersticks. The instrumental 'Reprise'is dubby and loud and ends the album. This is a fine album that deserves to be heard.

Track Listing:-
1 Copper Wire
2 Cabin Fever
3 Try Harder
4 Memo To Self
5 Caustic
6 Seeping Wounds
7 Tourniquet
8 Jesus Son
9 Quiescence
10 Wake
11 Honesty
12 (Reprise)

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The Surface Has Been Scratched (2004)
Debut EP from new Scottish four piece, which unfortunately wears its Primal Scream and Jesus and Mary Chain influences a little too openly on its sleeve

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