I saw Vivian Girls this past Sunday. During the set, I was wondering what things would be like for me if I could build a time machine to go back to Scotland in nineteen eighty-four, and see the Shop Assistants. Of course, while I was there I would try to take in at least one Pastels show, and maybe even see if I could manage to wait around a few years so that I could catch Talulah Gosh, and well I could ratle of bands that I wish I'd been able to see in the eighties for hours. That's not really the point though.
I like Vivian Girls, a lot. Of course, I must like them, they play what is likely (were I absolutely forced to choose) my favorite style of music: Noisy, punky pop music that owes a huge debt (yet always manages to be an update on) 60s girl group sounds. Yet still, I left their show the same way I left their album - wanting something more from them. They can't really give any more though. They have their version of what it is that they are doing down to a science, and their ideas are executed perfectly in their lovely, minimalist glory.
So perhaps instead of wasting my mental energy willing a break in the space time continuum, I should instead focus on saving money so that I could travel to Europe to see Liechtenstein. Lichtenstein are a Swedish band who seem to have similar ideas and influences as those of Vivian Girls, yet they are able to give me that elusive something more that Vivian Girls (by their very nature) cannot.
It's not really a fair comparison I suppose. Of course, based on my personal tastes I am more inclined to like a band who takes this clever girl group update idea more in the indiepop direction than in the punk direction. I suppose it's just fascinating to me that with so many music fans, and music writers going crazy over Vivian Girls - if this is a style of music that people are suddenly enthusiastic about - why aren't more people in general going crazy over Liechtenstein?
Watch recent videos from both bands, and formulate your own theories...
You can order Vivian Girls' self titled full length
and both 7"s from Liechtenstein here