There are two types of people in the world, I don't mean men and women, and I'm not referring to optimists or pessimists. I'm talking of what is perhaps one of the most divisive topics around, creating more conflict than all the world's religions combined. This is, of course the hi-fi verses lo-fi debate. It's built into your genetic code and there is nothing to be done about it; if you didn't like lo-fi as a teenager it's virtually impossible to convert in later life. Although you might give the impression you're a lo-fi disciple to friends and family in an ill advised attempt to become "one of them", the deep recesses of your soul remain certain, that the first Velvet Underground album would have been improved ten fold if George Martin had been sat behind the mixing desk.

I have always been a fully signed up member to the creed of hi-fi. Don't misunderstand me, having the hi-fi gene doesn't mean you can't enjoy and even love artists like Daniel Johnston or the Mountain Goats. The difference is you believe their earlier albums were lo-fi more out of necessity than any real artistic statement.

This all brings us round to Times New Viking; a band that like a soviet spy crossing the Berlin wall during the cold war, have just recently switched allegiances to a cleaner, more produced sound for their latest release Dancer Equired. The die hard fans may very well be up in arms about this unwanted improvement in recording quality, but the very nature of this band's music has been crying out for studio production since their inception back in 2005. Times New Viking have always had the melody, but for the most part it has been hard to find amongst a thick haze of distortion, tape hiss and clipped vocals. If you haven't come across their earlier albums allow me to paint you a musical picture. Imagine being locked in an airing cupboard listening to Pavement on one of those old walkmans with the volume turned to max. Now imagine placing the headphones about three inches from your ears while someone vacuums the room outside. This has always been the TNV aesthetic, but despite these drawbacks, the strong melodies they have always given them an edge over the rest of the hilariously named "shitgaze" genre. Whether you enjoyed staring at poo or not, their early potential was undeniable.

On any given TNV album you have always been guaranteed at least four or five classic slices of catchy melodic bubblegum pop punk; with Dancer Equired that number has almost doubled.

The cleaner sound hasn't exactly strangled the band of every trace of their personality. There's still plenty of grit to be had; the difference this time being that the songs have been allowed space to breathe. You're still listing to this album locked in an airing cupboard, but now the vacuum cleaner has been switched off. Dancer Equired is not without duds, but with the songs averaging around the two minute mark, you're never too far away from a stone cold classic. Tracks like 'Don't go to Liverpool', 'No Room to Live' and the leading single 'Fuck her Tears' have all the wilful exuberance of a toddler running on additives and E numbers. Whereas previously the playful organ struggled to give the band enough sweetness to counteract the rasping onslaught of feedback and procession, the balance this time is now almost perfect. But all this is insignificant compared to the overall improvement is song writing. It's never really been about high-fi or lo-fi with TNV, it's the melodies that have been their secret ingredient. Dancer Equired is an album that plays to the band's strengths and in that regard it has been a resounding success.

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