Vivian Girls' Cassie Ramone Captures Otherworldly Enigma on 'Sweetheart' Solo Album

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BY Alex HudsonPublished Jul 1, 2024

The first time I played Vivian Girls' self-titled 2008 album on vinyl, I listened to the entire thing at the wrong speed before I realized my mistake. It obviously sounds better at 45 rpm, but it was pretty cool at 33 rpm, too — its bleary, lo-fi enigma exaggerated by the unnaturally slowed tempo and the deep moan of the stretched-out vocals.

Sweetheart, the new solo album from Vivian Girls vocalist Cassie Ramone, certainly doesn't sound as gnarly as a punk album played at the wrong speed, but it has some of that same otherworldly enigma. Title track "Sweetheart" is a familiar-sounding fuzz pop bop that smears '60s melodies with bleary muck, while other songs have the haunted acoustic sound one might expect of a singer-songwriter's solo album, and others burst into crushing distortion that's even noisier than Vivian Girls. Combined with her fragile, reverb-soaked voice, it's an eerily beautiful soundscape.

In a touching statement, Ramone described the journey that led up to the album, which included moving across the country, getting sober and becoming a driver for food delivery apps. She wrote, "I had many song fragments that came from one of my main nighttime hobbies during the lockdowns: sitting on the back steps of where I was living, drinking from a flask of cheap liquor, setting small bonfires in these aluminum cans, and singing to myself. I would record myself singing a capella into my phone's voice recorder — pieces of an idea that came into my head like a ghost."

Watch a full-length music video for Sweetheart below. Mac DeMarco plays on "The Only Way I Know How" — and while his voice isn't audible and you'd never know it was him, his presence can be felt in a lounge-y groove that's distinctly more hi-fi than the rest of the album.

Sweetheart is available to purchase digitally or on vinyl from Ramone's website.


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