Vietnam: The Quiet Room (Rhythmethod/digital outlets)

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Vietnam: The Quiet Room (Rhythmethod/digital outlets)

When the Scottish band Blue Nile took seven years to release Peace at Last after their album Hats, then another eight before High they earned a reputation for meticulous if leisurely craftsmanship.

Lengthy gaps between albums are not uncommon these days. It has been 20 years since Peter Gabriel's last album of original songs and Bill Fay took 31 years between two of his albums.

But Wellington's post-punk band Vietnam have released their album The Quiet Room a whopping 37 years after their self-titled debut EP.

Some background then: High school friends Adrian Workman (bass/keyboards), Leon Reedijk (drums), Peter Dransfield (guitar) and singer Shane Bradbrook were inspired by UK post-punk (Joy Division, Cure) and wrote in a similar darkly socio-political manner, played the pubs in Wainuiomata, entered a Battle of the Bands and although the didn't win one of the judges was Karyn Hay of Radio With Pictures who played their video for Victory.

16807767_417925821878241_5833920892312631680_nBut a month after the release of their EP (on Jayrem) in '85 Workman moved to Sydney and Dransfield joined him the next year.

The self-titled EP was given a limited edition reissue much later but aside from a gig or two then Vietnam were no more.

Until now.

And it as if little has changed: here are spiky, anxious pop-rock songs in the manner of melodic Cure (the openers In Another Desert and What Have I Done, the latter as a bonus track on the EP reissue, later Whispers to Ignore and It's All Around), broody and downbeat New Wave (Do It For You a revisit to their Joy Division-influenced I Did It For You), crafted atmospheric pop (I Once Said, Lost in the Flame), a smidgen of the Smiths (Kidney Bingos), the morose and mannered Where Is My Happiness . . .

A debut album after fortysomething years?

And musically a case of deja-vu all over again.

.

You can hear Vietnam's self-titled EP with bonus tracks at bandcamp here. This album is available on CD, LP and at bandcamp here.


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