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New Clear Days:The Vapors

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Artist: The Vapors

Date Released: 1980

Label: United Artists / Liberty

Produced By: Vic Coppersmith Heaven

Tracklisting: UK Version:

  1. Spring Collection
  2. Turning Japanese
  3. Cold War
  4. America
  5. Trains
  6. Bunkers
  7. News At Ten
  8. Somehow
  9. Sixty Second Interval
  10. Waiting For The Weekend
  11. Letter From Hiro

US Version:

  1. Turning Japanese
  2. Sixty Second Interval
  3. Waiting For The Weekend
  4. Spring Collection
  5. Letter From Hiro
  6. News At Ten
  7. Somehow
  8. Prisoners
  9. Trains
  10. Bunkers

UK CD Edition:

  1. Spring Collection
  2. Turning Japanese
  3. Cold War
  4. America
  5. Trains
  6. Bunkers
  7. News At Ten
  8. Somehow
  9. Sixty Second Interval
  10. Waiting For The Weekend
  11. Letter From Hiro
  12. Prisoners
  13. Sunstrooke
  14. Here Comes The Judge (Live)
  15. News At Ten (Single Version)
  16. Wasted
  17. Talk Talk
  18. Waiting For The Weekend (Single Version)
  19. Billy

ReviewEdit

New Clear Days has had to suffer the curse of the Album With A One-Hit Wonder's One Hit—it's been repackaged a couple different ways, and has been reissued with bonus tracks over and over as a "best of", sometimes shuffling the tracks around, sometimes not. (The other Vapors album, Magnets has basically just been released in one way all throughout its lifetime, aside from typically being the hunting grounds from where the labels will cull the bonus tracks for the various "New Clear Days-as-shuffled-'Best Of'" releases. The strange thing is—and this might just be a function of having heard it first and more often—I actually prefer the US shuffled lineup of the album to the original UK version. It just seems to flow better—it sounds more cohesive. The UK one strikes me more as a collection of songs, where the US one sounds more like an album.

Track-listing difficulties aside, this is a really damn good record. Everyone's heard the one-hit (which really is one of those great pop-rock/power pop songs), and the rest of the album probably isn't much of a surprise as to how it sounds -- "Turning Japanese" isn't a fluke or a uncharacteristic track or anything. The first time I heard the album, I thought it sounded like a lighter, poppier version of Drums & Wires by XTC; which is definiitely a good thing, as I love that record, too. Looking back, I'm not sure if I'm entirely sold on the Drums & Wires comparison anymore, but there is a definite XTC sound to them—maybe think of The Vapors as sort of a alternate universe Dukes Of Stratosphear where they took the guise of a power pop band, y'know?

Almost every track on here is excellent—the only track I'm not really sold on is "Letter From Hiro", which is the longest and weakest track. (This isn't rare for the Vapors, the similarly-lengthed "Magnets" from that record is also the weakest song on that one—the Vapors didn't have much luck with 6 minute long songs.) But "News At Ten" should have been the second in a long line of hit singles for The Vapors, and the two songs cut from the US release ("Cold War" and "America") are both lost classics of the genre as well. And dig "Spring Collection", too! Or "Trains"! All of these are just magnificent songs. David Fenton had a definite skill as a pop songwriter.

The bonus tracks are pretty good, too, all culled from single releases. The single remix of "Waiting For The Weekend" answers the question of "why wasn't that their next hit", though—the album version is so far superior, it's kinda funny. Whomever did that remix just completely and utterly dropped the ball, taking a great song and ruining it with terrible additional instrumentation. I suppose it's interesting as a curiosity, but it'd have been interesting to see if the album version were released instead as the single how it would have done...

Still, though, this is one of those lost classic records and the Captain Mod CD reissue really does the album a great service. Thank you for releasing this great, forgotten album. - Rev. Syung Myung Me

Further readingEdit

(links to websites, additional reviews, fansites, books, periodicals or any additional information on the album)

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