Scottish experimentalists Viva Stereo are one of those unforeseen anomalies that you tend to read about every once in a while but rarely see. Previously based in Glasgow, the band have now relocated separately to other parts of the country, with playing live seemingly taken off the agenda in favour of recording what they consider to be their "definitive" record.
Recorded throughout 2005, 'Patterns Of Behaviour' is finally being given a general release nearly six months after completion and is thoroughly worth the wait.
With vocal contributions from the likes of Language Of Flowers' Tara Mascara and Candythief's Diana De Cabarrus, 'Patterns Of Behaviour' feels like a long distance journey through bustling city life and rural tranquility at different speeds, and while there is no definite end in sight, it never becomes relentless either.
The psychedelic spaghetti-western drama of 'Lost In A Field' is an almost too perfect to be true introduction to the record that swiftly evaporates into the jangling early Creation Records sounding 'Syntax Errors' before the Shamen-esque title track featuring Ms Mascara's vocal ups the tempo and bpm somewhat.
Perhaps the closest reference point to Viva Stereo's mindset on making this record would be Primal Scream, and it is to the band's credit that if Bobby Gillespie and co. had conjured up anything as haunting as the spoken word recess of 'Gone' or anything as daring as the industrialised techno of 'You're Not Committed To The Company', 'Evil Heat' would have been a better record by far.
Towards the end of the record, as the aforementioned journey nears its final destination, the mood becomes more chilled and relaxed, as 'The Orange Room' and 'Take Me To The Bridge' both enter the same mournful-with-a-slight-hint-of-optimism territory as Doves on a reflective day or Elbow in general.
'Patterns Of Behaviour' is a result for hard work in the studio over touring. If they can keep it together long enough, who knows what the next record may achieve?
7Dom Gourlay's Score