The third full-length release of Brooklyn’s Vivian Girls sweeps in on its usual wave of surf-inspired tunes, trading in its lo-fi mentality for hi-fi and experimenting with a longer track form. Share The Joy shows the maturity of the group since its 2008 self-titled debut, and it also marks the debut of the group’s new drummer since Ali Koehler’s departure.
Cassie Ramone, Kickball Katy and Fiona Campbell take the Brill Building sound of the 1960s and mash it with the punk tendency to create short, punchy tracks. Classic girl group three-part harmonies glaze through each song, but the girls make it obvious that they are not the Shirelles, the Angels or the Ronettes. While those groups daintily adorned their music in sweetness, the ladies of Vivian Girls add a raw edge to their “Wall Of Sound.”
Opener “The Other Girls” shows off the group’s punk side, beginning with furious strumming and drumming that slow down when Ramone enters with her vocals. Ramone’s voice is quirky, emphasizing consonants over vowels, which isn’t the norm when it comes to traditional singing, but it’s a signature part of Vivian Girls’ sound. It’s most evident on this track, which is appropriately named considering the other girls in the surf-pop world surely aren’t following suit.
Share The Joy does delve deeper into the ’60s girl group influence on “Take It As It Comes,” which centers around Ramone dishing out guy advice. It’s intentionally corny, but it’s ultimately fun and catchy. Fun is an overarching theme to the album, which is only appropriate considering its title. Though the album shows much progression from the group’s earlier works, it could still use some variety. The girls have made strides in bookending the album with tracks that are longer than six minutes—quite different from its usual two to three minutes—but the next step is to use the extended time to explore what else they could do with it.