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Fall of Saigon: 1981-1984

1981-1984 is a retrospective on the short-lived career of French minimalist rockers, Fall of Saigon. At the risk of over embellishing for style, I'll be blunt: its thirteen tracks contain some of the most bland, repetitive and amateurish music I've ever heard. Musically, lyrically, vocally, and melodically, it fails, and it's no wonder why the trio never became very popular.

Of the trio, organist Pascal Comelade is probably the most well-known, and joining him in Fall of Saigon is vocalist (not "singer," mind you) Florence Berthon, guitarist Thierry Den, and a drumbox. Between 1981 and 1982, the group only released an untitled EP. 1981-1984, I suppose, will certainly appeal as a nostalgic token to be cherished by their fans—assuming they had any.

"Visions" opens the album with a simple drum beat, punky guitar riff, and the boring drone of Berthon. The song (and album, for that matter) never picks up momentum, nor does it engage its listener at all with catchiness or even the slightest hint of musical ambition; it's as if three street hooligans found instruments in a garbage can and decided to buy a tape recorder and start messing around. "On the Beach At Fontana," albeit unintentionally, perfectly captures the sounds of a mentally handicapped person rambling to themselves with a techno rock soundtrack. It's laughably pointless and odd.

In the interest of referencing some positives, I suppose the David Lynch-esque horns and guitar of "Sha La La La" are a bit intriguing, and "I'll Never Be Back" does effectively convey a simple sorrow in its keyboard arpeggio. However, these tracks are certainly nothing special in-and-of themselves; however, when compared to the rest of the horrible 1981-1984, they stand out.

I've nothing against a minimalist, slightly amateurish approach to music—hell, it's what made Brian Eno's 1970s work so charming—and Radiohead's "Videotape" is a work of genius because of its simplicity. However, whereas these two artists (and many more) channel talent into a sparse approach, this band only channel trash. Fall of Saigon arguably had one of the briefest careers in modern music, and with 1981-1984, it's easy to hear why.

Track Listing
1. Visions
2. Blue Eyes
3. She Leaves Me Alone
4. So Long
5. On The Beach At Fontana
6. The Swimmer
7. The Model
8. Part Time Punks
9. The End
10. Andalucia
11. I'll Never Be Back
12. Sha La La La
13. Let It Go

Added: April 18th 2011
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: More Information
Hits: 3326
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Fall of Saigon: 1981-1984
Posted by Marten on 2014-08-13 14:09:08
My Score:

So early Eno is "amateurish". Right...

Fall of Saigon: 1981-1984
Posted by Fanciz Dean on 2013-12-22 09:53:11
My Score:

I agree that the reviewer doesn't know much about cold wave. Actually, he didn't mention the best track of the album She Leaves Me All Alone. I'm toying with the idea of buying the CD.

Fall of Saigon: 1981-1984
Posted by Juan Salas on 2011-08-18 20:19:45
My Score:

This reviewer is clearly not a fan of vague froide/minimal electro, take what he says with a handful of salt, maybe two. Fall of Saigon is charming in its simplicity. The melodies are tight, effective and hypnotique. Florence Berthon's voice is haunting and ethereal. It isn't my favourite album but it is one of the better things I have stumbled upon this year. Check out youtube, listen to some tracks and decide for yourself.

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