Wednesday, February 9, 2011
This ain't no Billy Joel shit. The Vietnam Veterans were a French neo-psyche outfit that formed in '83 and continued making rockin' tunes until '88, which is a longer lifespan than most ephemeral bands in that niche and short-lived genre. If I remember correctly, I heard about these guys via the Children of Nuggets comp. Their sound was guitar heavy for sure, as they were a well-mixed conglomeration of 60's psyche and garage rock, but with lots of romping organ accompaniment thrown in to create some real psychedelic rock stompers. It's effect is hectic, spastic, at times even dizzying, but in a rock your face off sort of manner. Mark Embata's vocals are guttural, trenchant and raw, alternating between almost spoken lyrics to high-pitched shrieks. decisively garage rock influenced. The band has just recently reformed in '05 and returned with a new album in '09, which I have yet to hear, however I'd be curious to see what it sounds like after a 20 plus year music-making hiatus.
Also included in this collection is their final release before originally disbanding, the compilation The Days of Pearly Spencer which is a good starting point for those looking for an introduction to this relatively obscure and under-looked group. Give a listen to The VV's cover of Bobby Bare's "500 Miles Away From Home" in the video below, which is the band at its most sincere, reflective and especially melodic, and you'll know immediately these guys were (to use an already established phrase) a golden nugget of the 80s. No nitpicks here, just quality stuff from a band that went way under the radar.
Crawfish for the Notary (1984)
In Ancient Times (1985)
Catfish Eyes and Tales (1987)
The Days of Pearly Spencer (1988)
The only things missing are their debut album (which is a little rough around the edges, even for a garage/psyche band) and their live album, which I couldn't find, but I'm sure is out there somewhere. Anyhow, enjoy:
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Live 1986 Bochum Germany