The Vapors - Together (Absolute Label Services)
You might not recall the band The Vapors from the early 1980's but mention the song Turning Japanese
and then your memory might bring to mind the four piece who reached the Top 3 with the hit single in the UK.
They got their initial break supporting The Jam on their Setting Sons tour in 1979 and later this year were due to tour with From The Jam with the tour visiting York on the aptly tour named Setting Sons.
The problem of having a worldwide hit such as Turning Japanese
is how do you follow it. The band resurfaced a year ago with the single Jimmie Jones
but as they discovered pop can be a fickle business.
With a record company loosing interest in them and fame fading fast the members went on to follow different career paths, with lead singer Dave Fenton becoming a solicitor.
In what must be one of the longest gaps between album releases fans of The Vapors have had to wait 39 years for a new album.
Surprisingly the best songs on the album are those that are towards the end of this fine return. Opening track Together
sounds under produced. The commercial track has a melody that grabs you and refuses to loosen its grip, with a stronger production it could have had more impact.
is built around a guitar riff that skirts too close to Plastic Bertrands 1978 hit Ca Plane Pour Moi.
The song has the familiar jerky sound that harks back to Turning Japanese.
Elsewhere standout moments include Sundown River
where the band sound more in the present than the past. Real Time
is steeped in the great songwriting mood as The Kinks or the Small Faces.
The deeper and slower tracks like Girl From A Factory
demonstrates that the band can still come up with songs that stick in your head for the rest of the day. The Vapors always had a way with building a hook into a song that makes you sit up and listen, such as on the track I Don't Remember
with a Hendrix guitar riff and a vocal chant.
is a rock stomp that has a youthful energetic feel, whilst album closer Nuclear Nights
bows out in fine style as Fenton sings "you can always be my friend". As friends and fans have waited nearly 40 years for a follow up album, the wait has been worth it.
I rate the album 3 out of 5