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Vietnam | Kemado
By FRANKLIN SOULTS  |  January 29, 2007
2.5 2.5 Stars
“We just wanted a name that had power,” says co-founder Michael Gerner in Rolling Stone. “I grew up as a military brat, and ‘Vietnam’ was a bad word.” Then why not go super bad with the fresh rot of “Fallujah” or “Bora Bora”? Like hirsute hotties from My Morning Jacket to Kings of Leon, these four vagabond hairheads prefer to recall an era when the establishment considered turning on and dropping out a sociopolitical threat. At times Gerner’s affected vocals and the band’s recycled blues rock are derivative of Blonde on Blonde–era Dylan; at others the quartet almost live up to Loaded-era Velvets, especially on “Summer in the City,” a nasty requiem for an OD who was “a pretty good lay/At least that’s what they say.” Except that whereas Uncle Lou always delivered his misanthropic decadence from an alienated distance, these miscreants undercut themselves by laying on strings, horns, or electric organ as the singer builds to an old-school wail like a cynical, deadbeat Joe Cocker. Although this long-heralded debut moves smoothly between slow-building rockers and quick sing-alongs, by the end all the bad vibes (and worse poetry) make you hope the band meet some burly old vets at the methadone clinic.
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  Topics: CD Reviews , Vietnam , Michael Gerner , Joe Cocker ,  More more >
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