During their initial run as a band, Vivian Girls were a band of outsiders for outsiders – a band for the freaks and the malcontents. The ones who loved The Wipers as much as Burt Bacharach as much as The Shangri-Las. They were the band that made the punks feel like they could sing harmonies and pop fans could get in touch with their anger. Cassie Ramone’s lyrics alternated between love, loss and rage. They were heart-on-their-sleeves romantics in one breath and a spiralling explosion of feedback in the next.
After their third album -2011’s Share the Joy – the members of Vivian Girls parted ways and the band who had known each other since they were teenagers, went about the business of living. Katy Goodman and Ali Koehler both moved to Los Angeles, continued making music (La Sera for Goodman, Best Coast and Upset for Koehler) and started families. Ramone continued to make art in Brooklyn, released two solo records and two full-lengths with Kevin Morby as The Babies, and moved to Los Angeles in 2018 after a phone call with Goodman kickstarted the idea of playing music together again.
The result is a reunion record titled Memory, it may conjure images of a band waxing nostalgic about the halcyon days of yore, but it is anything but a pleasant reminiscence. The latent darkness that always haunted their records is on full display upon their return. After eight years, Vivian Girls are back and they haven’t forgotten what they went through. It’s a loud, snarling journey and there’s a sense of streamlined direction and intensity to the performances: Memory is an album filled with personal reflections on toxic relationships, the false promise of new love, mental health struggles, and finding ways to accept oneself amidst it all.
Listen to Sick, Something To Do, and latest single Sludge. Videos to watch too. And pre-order the album here.
It’s good to have them back.