Tuesday, 18 September 2018
The Vibrators - V2 (1978)
Released April 1978
Only ten months after their breakneck debut album, "Pure Mania", The Vibrators returned with another frenetic album of short, sharp, incisive punk anthems. The first album had been very much a "1-2-3-4" up and at 'em punk attack, straight from the sweaty little venues they played in the early days, this one had slightly more polish about it, if that were not a contradiction in terms for a no-nonsense punk band. The songs are slightly longer and a bit more intricate but still loud and rousing. The vocals are more high-pitched and sneering and if anything this album is more commercially "punk", whereas the first one was almost "post punk" in places. This one actually has some guitar solos.
"Pure Mania", strangely the title of their first album eventually kicks into a furious ranting number and "Flying Duck Theory" ploughs the same furrow, delivering a bit of Members-style social comment with a mannered Small Faces-style vocal - "ray-deee-ohhh". The single "Automatic Lover" is three minutes of funk/power pop beauty, an exhilarating slice of pure joy. "Public Enemy" has a bluesy riff and a grinding feel to it. The Vibrators were starting to sound a bit like Dr. Feelgood here, although the whining punk voice kept them punk. "Destroy" is a great punk anthem, full of rolling drum fills and choppy guitar. "Nazi Baby" is a grinding intense punk rocker with, incredibly, some string orchestration appearing at the end.
"Wake Up" is another classic, driving punker. The problem with this stuff is that, even by mid 1978, these frantic punk thrashes were starting to be a bit of old hat. Punk in its essential form was burning itself out, in a matter of less than two years. "Sulphate" is another in the same vein, while "24 Hour People" sounds very much like Stiff Little Fingers on their first album and also has some Chuck Berry-influenced rock 'n' roll guitar riffs. "Fall in Love" has a new wave/power pop feel to it, with some Joe Strummer-style slurred vocals in places. "Feel Alright" sounds like something from the first Clash album. "War Zone" is very Edie & The Hot Rods-esque. The first signs of post punk were found in the sprawling, dense "Troops Of Tomorrow" with its drawn-out, atmospheric introduction. By now, most punk groups had to put a long, intense song on their albums it seemed.
I think I prefer the slightly fresher, more open sound of this album to the first although I recognise that, after these two albums there wasn't much else they could do unless they diversified. They didn't, and that was the end of them as a relevant group. They were two great albums though. Great times.