August 06, 2004

Viv "Flawed"

Viv's debut album, Flawed, is somewhat aptly titled. Led by Matt Ostrander, this California-based band makes good sounding, strong and melodic radio-friendly rock music. These songs could have taken up radio space eight years ago, because their non-threatening rockness was a more valuable commodity way back then, when bands like Semisonic and Ben Folds were actually allowed airtime. They're well-produced numbers that show the band to be really good musicians, and they've got a good pop sensibility, too. "Green" and "Did I" are pretty, literate and moving songs; the title track is a great country-rock number and I'm really, really fond of "Out Of The Rain," which is a melancholy number set to a really great acoustic/electronic backing.

The trouble is, though, is that it Flawed simply lacks flare. Like many of the bands who had big hits in the mid-90s, they've got one or two really great songs with a great sound and great hooks, but the rest of the album pales next to their one or big 'hits.' Though Flawed sounds great, none of the songs really make that much of an impression afterwards; it's great music for atmosphere--play it at a bar and you'll have a hit--but on its own, only a few moments really stand out. Viv's a young band, and maybe these things will work themselves out after some growth and maturity.

--Joseph Kyle

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