Mickey Madden of Maroon 5 reportedly financed VietNam's self-titled full-length debut but don't hold that against singer/songwriter Michael Gerner. Granted, Gerner's a classicist of sorts, but he couldn't be less interested in making glossy pop soul for a new generation. His musical influences lean more toward folk rock, blues rock and downer psychedelia, while his lyrics brim with the sort of metaphor-heavy wordiness that fills "Priest, Poet & the Pig." His singing, which ranges from sensitive gruffness to impassioned yowling, packs plenty of authority, and his defiantly hirsute bandmates, led by fellow songwriter/lead guitarist Josh Grubb, provide musical accompaniment that's as burly as the main man.
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