The Littlest Viking, The Littlest Viking

The Littlest Viking, <em>The Littlest Viking</em>

Fans of ’90s indie-prog, rejoice, for The Littlest Viking has come to save your collective soul. With their new self-titled album, the duo of Ruben Cortez and Christopher Gregory (with occasional additional vocal help from an unnamed female singer) boil down every damn prog-rock influence imaginable into a rough-edged yet crystalline concoction that’s equal parts overfuzzed indie-rock and obtuse Chicago post-rock, merging the best of both into something awesome and smart and snarky and addictive as all hell.

They verge on the realms of instro-metal at points, as on the Scale The Summit-esque “Give Me Motorhead” or stutter-stopping “I Hope There’s A Glory Hole in Hell,” which brings to mind fellow Californians The Fucking Champs (although The Littlest Viking hail from Whittier, a ways further south from the Champs’ SF stomping grounds), but they never let themselves get tied to it, skipping into busy, cheery, almost-jazz with insane finger-tapped guitars and head-nodding rhythms like on “Slap Bracelet Wounds,” or even skirting a vocal-less Promise Ring on “My Little Brony.” And before you ask, no, none of the song titles seem to have much to do with the songs themselves.

The album’s highlight, for me, is one of a handful of tracks with vocals on here, “Piccadilly Palare is a Real Boner Drag,” which starts off gentle and delicate, like a chunk of misplaced, hazy dreampop, but then surges into awesomely grand, fill-your-ears guitar rock that brings to mind Arcwelder or Sebadoh’s louder moments. The change should be jarring, but it’s not; it feels as natural as the sunrise, and I find myself wanting to throw my hands in the hear and go “woooo!,” despite knowing it’d freak out everybody nearby.

Then there’s “I’m Hetero for Samantha Moloney,” which is jumping and twisty but still resolutely melodic; it’s not metal, but rather just straight-up smart, “round”-sounding, spiraling rock that bends in upon itself and burns in the best way possible. Think Don Caballero at their fire-spitting best, think aMINIATURE, think Cap’n Jazz, and you’ll be in the right ballpark. And oh, what a cool, cool ballpark it is to kick back and hang out in.

[The Littlest Viking is playing 3/18/13 at Mango’s, along with Hyperspeed Megaship, Dolores Boys, Hoffle Stoffle Awaffogus, & Alex Van & The Hide Away.]
(Mountain Man Records -- P.O. BOX 41593, Long Beach, CA. 90853; http://www.mountainmanrecords.com/; The Littlest Viking -- http://www.thelittlestvikinghellsyeah.blogspot.com/; The Littlest Viking (Facebook) -- http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Littlest-Viking/33088028590; The Littlest Viking (Bandcamp) -- http://thelittlestviking.bandcamp.com/)
BUY ME: Bandcamp

Review by . Review posted Monday, March 18th, 2013. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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One Response to “The Littlest Viking, The Littlest Viking

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » SXSW Overflow 2014: Day Six (The Littlest Viking, Sit Kitty Sit, & Drop Tank) on March 14th, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    […] I got handed Whittier, CA, duo The Littlest Viking‘s self-titled second album last year and was pretty freaking floored by it, and y’know, you should be, too. Ruben Cortez and Christopher Gregory take every post-punk […]

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