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Optimism is Not a Curse by Viva Stereo

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Reviewed on 21st October 2004.


Optimism is Not a Curse

By Viva Stereo

Yet more testament in the case against the well oiled machine that is the UK music industry and its super efficient scouting system. This time it's Scotland's Viva Stereo showing what they can do across the 12 tracks of their new album "Optimism is Not a Curse" and wetting the appetite of what they could be doing were it a full time occupation.

The band pull on a multitude of influences and sounds to paint a picture of Manchester vs. Glasgow in the early 90's. Don't fear, it's not so much a step back in time as a revival of the best bits with a realisation of what the kids want now. There are certain comparisons that could be made with the likes of current darlings Kasabian or recent Manc revivalists The Rain Band, whilst Primal Scream and Happy Mondays references are never out of reach.

Well connected on the Glasgow scene, the band pull in various members of The Reindeer Section, not to mention producing duties for Teenage Fanclub's Brendon O'Hare. Although proclaiming this their "Magnus opus", we hope it is more like the seeds for even greater deeds. Although most of the 12 tracks stride confidently around, the occasional busy arrangement, muddy vocal treatment and lack of beef behind the beats sometimes finds the band's message slightly confused.

But such minor slips are soon forgotten with such gems as the ascending guitar solo of "Memo to Self", or the lo-fi ambience building to a hard beats romp of "Seeping Wounds", the Delgado's esque intro of "When the Tourniquet Comes Undone", or the fantastic pop melodies and dreamy sounds of "Quienscence"... the list goes on.

Viva Stereo are a band who certainly do not lack creativity and in this album provide a real case for the prosecution. With a few minors tweaks they'll have the case thrown out of court.



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