|Preconceived Notions: I’ve heard exactly one Vapors song in my life. It’s the same one you’ve heard, if you’ve only heard of one. I like it, part of my 80’s nostalgia collection….fast and funny, but I never thought to follow up on it any. So let’s check it out.
After Listening: Well pop punk/new wave/brit rock (?) is not normally one of my favorite genres as often relishes in repetitive musical constructs. But I think what I noticed 1st and foremost on this album is the sense of fun they are having with it. Nobody needs preachy punk afterall, and these guys do a largely good job of avoiding that pitfall. Musically this is achieved most prominently through an energetic and fairly poppy bassline. The basslines keep the songs framed in a sort of light context, even when the lyrics so often drift into darker topics. The juxtaposition of the lyrics against the music is a well formed attack – smooth enough that even when the topics tough the edge of dementia, you can hum along and pretty much miss their depth as if they don’t exist. The more interesting elements of the album are when the pieces slow down and attempt to interject something outside the formula…a clever drum fill here, a cimbalom, or a multivoiced chorus. These elements don’t happen quiet often enough to make this a must have album for me though. Somehow the songs are tight without any overwhelming sense of urgency, so that they also breathe, making them catchy. Unfortunately b/c of this, many of the songs do seem to blend together and are easily forgettable after they’re over.
Favorite Tracks: “Turning Japanese” – Putting the nostalgia factor behind me for a moment, how can anyone not love a song about masturbation disguising itself as a vaguely racist assault? Oh yeah then there are the musical aspects…strong rhythms, catchy chorus, oriental stereotypical insult, and that breakdown segment, which keeps it from getting stale. As good now as it ever was.
Least Favorite: “America” – just too generic musically, and nothing interesting lyrically. Like many of the other songs here, I can’t muster up strong emotions about it…but of those that seem to fade, this one seemed to last the longest in my mind as the one without any real bite.
Overall 3.8 This is a solid little record that probably demands some future listening. At times they blend together enough elements to make a fun poppy song, even better….then at other times the songs just seem to fade away in slave fashion to a template of the genre. Still I’ll same I’m impressed by the songs I do like…the music on this is solid & catchy, the vocals are a perfect tone color for the backing…and of course the lyrics bury some insanity nugget at the center of the candy like coatings. A foot tapper at points that makes me wish these guys were more prolific as they seemed to have room to grow.