Abe Vigoda – Crush

October 18, 2010

Earning high returns requires a willingness to take on more risk. Or so the theory went, before the big bank bailouts.

On their new lp “Crush,” however, Abe Vigoda do their part to set things straight again. Here, the band replaces its former “Tropical Punk” with a darker, synth-based alternative that draws inspiration from “Scary Monsters” era Bowie, the Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen, and other classic contributors to the soundtrack of the 1980s.

Yes, the risks were high; but the payoffs come in even higher, as evidenced by the fact that “Repeating Angel,” one of the album’s best tracks, performed live below, compares favorably, I’d say, to anything on “Songs to Learn and Sing.” And overall the lp stands together with Deerhunter’s “Halcyon Digest” and No Age’s “Everything in Between” as what will surely be remembered as three classic albums of 2010.

Stepping back a bit, the comparison to Bowie may be useful for broader purposes as well. Abe Vigoda have evolved so quickly and so successfully through such a wide variety of styles, the big question, as this Tiny Mix Tapes review points out, is where they’ll be heading next. I can’t wait to see.


15 more favorites from last year, to go with the 10 local albums listed below.

  1. Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion
  2. Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca
  3. Sister Suvi, Now I Am Champion
  4. Shrag, Shrag
  5. Bibio, Ambivalence Avenue
  6. Atlas Sound, Logos
  7. Animal Collective, Fall Be Kind
  8. Maayan Nidam, Nightlong
  9. Abe Vigoda, Reviver
  10. DJ Koze, Reincarnations – The Remix Chapter 2001-2009
  11. God Help the Girl, God Help the Girl
  12. Sonic Youth, The Eternal
  13. Durutti Column, Love in the Time of Recession
  14. The Juan Maclean, The Future Will Come
  15. Mountains, Choral

Abe Vigoda – Reviver

February 20, 2009

I really liked Abe Vigoda’s¬†album “Skeleton” from last year, so when their new 5-song EP, “Revival,” came out this week I had high hopes. And I was certainly not disappointed by the high-energy opener, “Don’t Lie,” followed by the slightly noisier “House” that followed. Both of those tracks rank up there with the standouts on the earlier “Skeleton.” They sound like what I’d imagine some tracks off of Deerhunter’s “Microcastle” might have sounded like if Bradford Cox had decided to lean towards punk instead of ’50s-era pop and rock ‘n’ roll. Excellent!

“House” fades into the short but haunting “Endless Sleeper,” a substantial and interesting reworking of the track by the same name off of “Skeleton.” But none of that, as great as it was, prepared me for what came next. Track 4, “Wild Heart.” Listened to it once – wow – this is something entirely different. Listened to it again – man – this is really powerful stuff. Then the third time through, it finally hits me: this is a cover of the STEVIE NICKS song! Awesome! A totally amazing reinterpretation that, even though a cover, takes the band’s already high level of creativity a big step further.

“Reviver” is a great EP, and its brevity – uncut by filler, throwaways, or half-baked ideas – only adds to its considerable prestige. This is pure, distilled beauty.