Friday, September 7, 2007

Sophomore Slumps That Weren't Day continues with the Vapors' "Magnets," the follow-up to the hugely (and quite singularly) popular "New Clear Days," which of course contained that tiny little hit "Turning Japanese."

Trouser Press wrote some time back, "One of the first in a breed of fresh-faced bands who fit neatly into the UK pop charts . . . while retaining vague new wave credibility, the Vapors started at the top and quickly sank from view. Their first single, "Turning Japanese," was a coy paean to masturbation and an enormous international hit; the inability to match it made both of the Vapors' subsequent albums big disappointments. They weren't that bad, though.

"Magnets" lacks a peer for "Turning Japanese," although "Jimmie Jones" (about Jonestown) nearly meets the challenge. Unfortunately, Fenton's greater aspirations and budding political conscience are severely out of step with the band's unbreakably commercial image. Had they not been doomed by their own devices from day one, the Vapors might have proven well worth following."

Disappointing indeed.

Interestingly, the "Magnets" cover was designed by Martin Handford, later famous for his Where's Waldo books, depicting an accident scene close up, but from a distance, looks like a man's eye.

So, close your eyes again -- turn the volume way UP -- and pretend these guys are playing Fort Reno or DC9 ...and you'd have your new, old, favorite band.

The Vapors - Lenina (Mp3)
The Vapors - Daylight Titans (Mp3)
The Vapors - Silver Machines (Mp3)
The Vapors - Galleries For Guns (Mp3)
The Vapors - Jimmie Jones (Mp3)
The Vapors - Live At The Marquee (Mp3)

Sophomore Slumps That Weren't Day, wherein we'll make the case for some follow-ups that were quite sadly overlooked. First up -- Modern English's "Ricochet Days." Close your eyes and forget you ever got really, really sick of "I Melt With You" and these tracks sound as fresh as can be...well, 20 or so years on.
Modern English - Blue Waves (Mp3)
Modern English - Heart (Mp3)
Modern English - Rainbows End (Mp3)
Modern English - Spinning Me Round (Mp3)
Modern English - Ricochet Days (Mp3)
In addition -- note the cover art by 23 Envelope, subject of yesterday's 12" Canvas Retrospective. Wonderful stuff...