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Vietnam Werewolf - Ohio's City (Cover Artwork)

Vietnam Werewolf

Vietnam Werewolf: Ohio's CityOhio's City (2008)
self-released

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: GlassPipeMurderGlassPipeMurder
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Vietnam Werewolf. Sounds pretty scary. Like Michael J. Fox eloped with one of John McCain's lovechildren. In reality, they're not scary at all, and play a gritty, familiar combination of early hardcore styles and straight-up punk rock with a tinge of pop-punk that meets halfway between two of Minnea.
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Vietnam Werewolf. Sounds pretty scary. Like Michael J. Fox eloped with one of John McCain's lovechildren. In reality, they're not scary at all, and play a gritty, familiar combination of early hardcore styles and straight-up punk rock with a tinge of pop-punk that meets halfway between two of Minneapolis' finest in Dillinger Four and early Replacements. The hooks are generally subtle, while the lyrics are more direct, crafting fiery protest songs of intelligent dissidence. Take for example "Patriotic Cancer," which while sounding a bit like Moral Crux, reads more like a handful of lines out of Dan Yemin's lyrical booklet: "Step back and spin around / Let's count the number of walls and figure out which ones we can start tearing down / Ask every single governor why they think they deserve to tell us what purpose we serve / And what our bodies' parts are for / […] / You've been in our business and bedrooms for too long / There's the fucking door."

What sets Vietnam Werewolf and their debut Ohio's City apart is that while so many pop-punkish bands are content to lay down a couple chords and one or two good hooks and move on to the next song, Vietnam Werewolf never run this risk of simplistic homogeneity because all their songs are well-composed of many different parts and songwriting devices. Listening to the 'Wolf reminds me of a Jeff Ott quote describing one of his former bandmates, whose songwriting would "literally make you brain hurt." I'm not sure if that's really the case with Vietnam Werewolf, but it certainly seems like they put a good amount of effort into their songwriting. Even with the songs that erupt more out of sheer energy than technical craft, like the scream-along "I'm Going to Blow," you can tell that the band has a firm grasp on what they're trying to do, filling the measures with sly, underlying emphases that may not even be apparent upon the first listen.

Some of the album's finest moments are spread between different facets of the band's work. The ambitious sing-along chorus of the cheeky "I Used to Be a Kid, I'm a Notary Public Now" engenders a tone of hopefulness, while "Expiration Dates" features a pounding lead-in and slightly resembles one of Berkeley's tragically un-remembered punk bands, the Wunder Years. Lyrically, Vietnam Werewolf hits their stride in the feisty lefty-punk anthem "More than a Sound": "I thought a part of punk was asking some questions / About the lies we're fed and challenging conventions / There's a joke called 'the revolution' / And it looks a lot like white, middle class rebellion."

This may be the first full-length from Vietnam Werewolf, but they are a band with roots planted in the best traditions of punk rock. Ohio's City is punchy and well-composed, snarky yet reflective, and teeming with literate punk vigor. When the moon is high over Hanoi (and even when it's not), expect Vietnam Werewolf and Ohio's City to be delivering some of the best new punk around.

[Some disclosure: VW features staff reviewer Matt Whelihan.]

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
TSOL (June 28, 2012)

Songs are hit and miss

rockthiscasbah (May 6, 2008)

Loving this album right now...the vocals really remind me of old As Friends Rust (which is a great thing)

Biped_Casserole (February 28, 2008)

great band, great guys. anyone from cleveland needs to get into this NOW

GlassPipeMurder (February 27, 2008)

Aphasiac: have you listened to much of them? I started listening right after I heard they signed to TNB, (before I knew the members) and it has grown on me the more i listened...i say give it another chance but that's just 'cause i ended up enjoying it.

AphasiacIIc (February 27, 2008)

heh this is pretty laughable. i was wondering why this was so bad until i got to the very bottom of the review

now im not surprised.

Rozcoemission (February 27, 2008)

these are very studly men!! ;)

aaronlulz (February 26, 2008)

got it at their cd release show, they were great and so is the album.

ifyoumakeit (February 26, 2008)

http://www.ifyoumakeit.com/video/vietnam-werewolf/greasetruck-sa ndwich/
VW playing 'Greasetruck Sandwich' at Bereafest.

Tobin_Ownlife (February 26, 2008)

Great album. Can't wait to get more people into it.

onegirlarmy (February 26, 2008)

The band just sent me this in the mail today for my radio show. I dug what I heard on Myspace but I need to sit and give the whole thing a good, solid listen before I make any real judgments.

punky_Chips_Ahoy_Oi_Oi_Oi (February 26, 2008)

I saw them at Berea Fest and don't remember them really sticking out, but I'll check them out again.

IanIsSuperRad (February 26, 2008)

I've seen these guys 3 times over the past two years and they've been awesome every time. I look forward to picking this album up.

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