ARC052: The Vichy Government - White Elephant

White Elephant

Artist: The Vichy Government

Release Date: 29th March 2009

Release Type: Album

Formats: CD, download

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2008; the age of Oyster cards, self-service supermarket tills and 5p flights to Singapore.

The Internet is everywhere, diffused through the air, as ubiquitous and as ready as oxygen.

All music is free and all music is available on tap.

No matter how rare, you can find it in seconds and you can save it onto your hard drive along with the other 500,000 songs in your music library. Maybe you'll listen to it once; maybe you'll give it 30 seconds and then click on a different track.

If you really like it, you'll probably choose to put it on your mobile phone and force fifty total strangers to listen to a tinny, distorted version of it, whether they wish to or not.

New albums, like soggy, boot-printed copies of Metro on the floor of your bus home, have a clearly defined shelflife of 24 hours.

You can make your own music on your laptop too; and, angling for a gig on Big Brother or their local weather bulletin, everybody who can, does.
They sign up to Myspace; their recordings are seashells on a beach, needles in a haystack.

Those who obtain significant commercial backing may become known for their criminal activities, drug addictions, nervous breakdowns or philandering footballers, but never for their music.

Does it condescend you? Yeah.

Radiohead try to give away their new album. We're still not remotely interested.

All music is free and all music is worthless.

We too have had our nostrils fouled by the stench of 2008. We tried to think of ways that we could combat it, and put a small grain of integrity back into the role of the artist. But we couldn't think of any, so we decided to have our petty bit of revenge by adding our own little bit of stench into everybody else's nostrils. Thus was White Elephant, the third Vichy Government album, born.

According to the old fable, third albums are 'difficult'. There will be no backlash against ours; because nobody bought, heard, or has heard of the first two. In this world of disposable, play-once-then-spit-into-tissue music, White Elephant is an album with a twist. The preceding 30-minute efforts, Carrion Camping and Whores In Taxis, elicited the response that the grating minimal Casio of Andrew Chilton and the humourless, whining cant of Jamie Manners were far too crude and monotonous to be easily got through in one sitting. This in mind, we chose to make our third album twice the length of its predecessors. Weighing in at 18 tracks, each as queasy and ear-bleeding as the last, White Elephant represents a true endurance test. Other albums are chewing gum, ours is a jumbo super-sour fireball gobstopper.

Proceedings kick off with Jamie's eight-minute short story, Death of a Mummy's Boy and end with Andrew Chilton's seasick instrumental, The Teams That Meet In The Blue Legume. In between, 'highlights' include the bar-room brawl of The Exterminating Angel Of Greek Street, the car-alarm pop of My Mail-Order Bride and the Bobby Goldsboro tearjerker that is Abusive Childhood Narrative. Silly cover versions du jour are Northern Soul anthem I'm Your Pimp and talentless cunt Mick Jagger's Memo From Turner.

As to brief band biography/background/profile, I've been doling out this crap for six years and I really can't be bothered. Write your own fucking review. I couldn't care less whether you listen to the thing or not. Just bang your head on the typewriter til you have your 500 characters, then submit that. I guarantee you'll have made much more sense than any other music journalist has managed to before.

1. Death Of A Mummy's Boy
2. The Exterminating Angel Of Greek Street
3. The Greatest Gift Of All
4. I'm Your Pimp
5. The Dog, The Divorcee And Me
6. Winter Forever
7. Joseph Losey
8. Little Fishes
9. Picnic At Dzerzhinsk
10. Abusive Childhood Narrative
11. Tristana
12. My Mail-Order Bride
13. Poor Little Chelsea Fan
14. Fatalism (Tesmaid Forks A)
15. Amnesia Day
16. Memo From Turner
17. We Have An Open Relationship
18. The Teams That Meet In The Blue Legume