Our minds are wonderful at filling in the blanks — whether it's missing vowels or creating the illusion of movement from a series of stills. So throttling fuzz, rattling clatter and lo-fi buzz are small impediments to appreciating the beauty within Times New Viking's noisy pop. While their prickly rumble isn't for everyone, the Columbus trio's stature has grown with each of its three releases. Despite promises of "25 percent higher fidelity," their 30-minute, 15-track follow-up to last year's Rip It Off is a glorious, occasionally dissonant mess, rescued by an unerring ear for simple hooks and boundless enthusiasm in delivering them.
The best that can be said of their shouted boy/girl vocals is that they're mostly tuneful, any shortcomings made up in charming verve and unassailable brevity — the worst moments are over quickly and the best leave you clamoring for more. While the promised improved fidelity is largely a mirage — it still sounds like they're playing down the hall from the microphones — the songs are more consistently catchy and less shrouded in distortion. Highlights include the vaguely mod "Something Moore," the keyboard-driven "City on Drugs" and the peppy "No Time, No Hope." — Chris Parker