Vivian Girls have a formula. That’s no bad thing. I always think the mark of a good band is if they have enough of a unique sound to be parodied (or, more insulting, copied into the ground). While it could be argued that Vivian Girls are really the ones imitating rather than to be imitated, it’s a winning mix of anachronism and nostalgia that comes of girls writing C86 songs with a conviction and panache that suggests it isn’t a convenient pose, but a necessary mode of expression.
And Vivian Girls do need to say things this way. Their lyrics are almost always about simple longing (‘I can’t get over you.’ ‘We’re on our second date now/What would I do without him?’ ‘Once you’ve gone remains the question baby/ Where do you go?/ Why do you leave me all alone?’) and the music seems to act as a means of escape or a means to batter it home. If the music is loud enough, if the drums crash enough, if the words are low enough, then it won’t matter that they’re gone. They’re massively fun (their song ‘No’ features that word and nothing else) and get to the point quickly without outstaying their welcome. But it’s the honesty and unadorned quality that runs through great Motown records: the easily recognisable situations, with readily digestible melodies ripe for repeat listening.
Can’t Get Over You (at their myspace)
Second Date (on Spotify)