The name suggests something political and their home country (New Zealand) suggests ingenuity in isolation, but the self-titled album from The Vietnam War is neither of these things. Instead, this Auckland five-piece wrap themselves in a warm, fuzzy blanket of nostalgia. Americana fans may well find much to appreciate here and the key to enjoying it is to embrace the familiarity of its well-worn, vintage sound.
Aside from the surprise element of alt-country in Aotearoa, there’s little else that surprises here. The songs wind themselves around the dry, unwavering vocals of Lubin Raines, guitar and harmonica. With repeated listens, the lyrics sink in a bit and add some depth to the compositions, the highlights of which are the ‘I’m so lonesome’ ballad Heavy On My Mind, the gently doom-laden Murder Song and the spaghetti-western wig-out Saw A Light.
The Vietnam War rolls along without many peaks or troughs and has a pleasant retro vibe that deems it likely to be durable, if not particularly memorable.
Best Track: Murder Song
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: LEADER CHEETAH, LEE MEMORIAL
In A Word: Americakiwi