The Vapors – Waiting For The Weekend: The United Artist & Liberty Recordings review

14 07 2021

The Vapors are releasing a 76 track deluxe 4CD clamshell box set containing the band’s first two studio albums New Clear Days and Magnets along with B-sides & single versions. The set also includes two discs of previously unreleased demos, rough mixes, alternative and live versions, including the band’s performance at The Rainbow, supporting The Jam on their Setting Sons tour in December 1979.

The material has been mastered from the original master tapes retrieved from the EMI Archives, and still sounds crisp and powerful.

The first disc contains The Vapors debut album New Clear Days from 1980. Containing the band’s signature track Turning Japanese, the album is much more than the massive hit single. Cold War captures perfectly the post-punk influenced new wave sound of 1979 / 1980.

My favourite track on the album is the nuclear paranoia riddled Bunkers.

“I went down the road to see the end of the movie
‘Cause I really like the part where the heroine dies
She takes away so many million secrets
But she tells just a few before she closes her eyes”

The agitated bass-line and wonderful drums and percussion backbeat drives this frenetic album highlight. Waiting For The Weekend and the album closer Letter From Hiro also serve as powerful statements.

The remainder of disc one collects the remaining tracks released during this period, including the single Prisoners, b-side Here Comes The Judge (Live), a single edit of News At Ten, a shortened edit of Turning Japanese and the first of three previously unreleased tracks, Move (Demo), which has a guitar sound reminiscent of the style of John McGeoch, who was a member of Magazine around this time.

The expanded version of second album Magnets from 1981 opens with single Jimmie Jones, followed by the Bowie influenced, more experimental sound of Spiders, which showed that the band’s musical vocabulary was expanding. Spiders should have been a hit single, it was made for the airwaves of 1980.

Isolated Case is a Banshee’s influenced, post-punk slice of pop, and has aged well. Live At The Marquee has an interesting, intelligent arrangement and a killer, speed infused 60s pop chorus.

“But we’re alive at the marquee”

Its a real shame that the lack of record company promotion harmed the prospects of Magnets, as it has a much more varied sound than the debut, and deserved to be heard by more people. Maybe that time is now?

I have a lot of love for Daylight Titans, with it’s Banshees meets The Comsat Angels flavour.

“But what hurts me is I never get the time
To say or do even half of what I’m feeling”

Can’t Talk Anymore adds some Dave Edmunds / Nick Lowe pop sensibility to a dark lyric. The haunting title track Magnets closes the original album running order, with a slow-burning arrangement and a powerful mantra to close the song.

The motorcade is never-ending…”

B-side Galleries For Guns and the single / remixes, plus an archive interview with Dave Fenton, complete disc two.

Disc Three is New Clear Days (Alternative Versions). Containing demos, alternative versions and rough mixes of the songs from the album. One of the highlights is Turning Japanese (Alternative Version), which has added synths and percussion and sounds like it could be from slightly later than 1980. Its interesting to hear, but the original is still the best! Another highlight is the spirited Letter From Hiro (Rough Mix).

Just as interesting is the final disc, which comprises Magnets (Alternative Versions) & Live At The Rainbow 03/12/1979.

This disc contains two previously unreleased songs. A studio cut of Secret Noise, which probably would have been more suited to the debut album, and a live version of Caroline recorded at The Rainbow in 1979. The Rainbow show highlights the band before they were successful. Its strange hearing a live performance of Turning Japanese with no roar during the iconic intro.

The Vapors – Waiting For The Weekend: The United Artist & Liberty Recordings is a great way to collect the recordings from the first incarnation of the band, and its also a good opportunity for a timely reappraisal of the band’s second album, Magnets.

The Vapors reformed in 2016 and in 2020 released their excellent third album studio album Together, that included a career highlight in Girl from the Factory. So hopefully lots more to come from this great band.

Buy The Vapors – Waiting For The Weekend: The United Artist & Liberty Recordings 4 CD Boxset

Disc One: New Clear Days (Expanded Version)

Spring Collection
Turning Japanese
Cold War
America
Trains
Bunkers
News At Ten
Somehow
Sixty Second Interval
Waiting For The Weekend
Letter From Hiro

Bonus Tracks

Prisoners
Sunstroke
Here Comes The Judge (Live)
News At Ten (Single Version)
Wasted
Talk Talk
Waiting For The Weekend (Single Version)
Billy
Turning Japanese (Edit)
Move (Demo)

Disc Two: Magnets (Expanded Version)

Jimmie Jones
Spiders
Isolated Case
Civic Hall
Live At The Marquee
Daylight Titans
Johnny’s In Love (Again)
Can’t Talk Anymore
Lenina
Silver Machines
Magnets

Bonus Tracks

Galleries For Guns
Jimmie Jones (Single Version)
Daylight Titans (Single Version)
Spiders (Single Version)
Interview With Dave Fenton

Disc Three: New Clear Days (Alternative Versions)

Spring Collection (Demo)
Turning Japanese (Alternative Version)
Cold War (Rough Mix)
America (Demo)
Trains (Rough Mix)
Bunkers (Demo)
News At Ten (Alternative Version)
Somehow (Instrumental)
Sixty Second Interval (Demo)
Waiting For The Weekend (Demo)
Letter From Hiro (Rough Mix)
Turning Japanese (Edit) (Demo)
Prisoners (Demo)
Wasted (Rough Mix)
Spring Collection (Rough Mix)
Turning Japanese (Alternative Extended Mix)
Cold War (Rough Mix Edit)
America (Instrumental)
Waiting For The Weekend (Rough Mix)
Cold War (Alternative Rough Mix)
Turning Japanese (Instrumental)

Disc Four: Magnets Alternative Versions & Live At The Rainbow 03/12/1979

Jimmie Jones (Rough Mix)
Civic Hall (Rough Mix)
Live At The Marquee (Rough Mix)
Johnny’s In Love (Again) (Rough Mix)
Galleries For Guns (Rough Mix)
Secret Noise
Galleries For Guns (Alternative Rough Mix)

Live At The Rainbow 03/12/1979

Caroline
Somehow
Bunkers
Sunstroke
Cold War
Waiting For The Weekend
Sixty Second Interval
Spring Collection
Turning Japanese
America
Prisoners

Buy The Vapors – Waiting For The Weekend: The United Artist & Liberty Recordings 4 CD Boxset








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