Vietnam’s new self-titled record is going to want to make you drugs. It’s going to make you want to go out into the urban jungle and ride the snake. Remember that scene in The Doors where Crispin Glover dresses up like Andy Warhol and says to Val Kilmer, “Somebody gave me this telephone. I think it was Edie. Yeah it was Edie and she said I could talk to God with it, but uh, I don’t have anything to say. So here…”? Well, it sort of reminds me of that. Not sure why. It just does.
From the first bang of a piano note on Vietnam, you can hear the dark, grimy, basement sound that Vietnam is made of. “Step On Inside” is, much like the rest of the record, an homage to ’60s psychedelia, The Velvet Underground, and of course, Robert Zimmerman. One of the strongest tracks on the album, “Priest, Poet & The Pig,” could have fit just perfectly on Highway 61. It’s ferocious music played aggressively, fast, and without any apprehension. It’s blues in it’s basic form, like much of the album, utilizing Dylan’s knack for making the I-IV-V sound like nothing that had ever landed on this green earth.
There are slowed down, 3/4 ballads as well, although Vietnam is not about to go easy on us. The Dylan sounding vocals are harsh on songs like “Toby” despite their slow tempo and “Baby, Baby, Baby” lyrics. It’s just like their name says. They’re a helicopter ride through the jungle, a knife twisted in your gut, and an acid flashback that won’t go away. Look for Vietnam in stores on January 23rd.