Saturday, 8 December 2012

Victorian Parents - Silence Follows (LP 1981)

I vowed to upload this extremely rare Polydor album by this great lost Lichfield four-piece several moons ago when writing about their debut single in a previous post. Here - finally - it is.

Three decades on from it's initial - and only - release, the album is still brain-bogglingly difficult to categorise. At times displaying prog-ish influences of early seventies Floyd or Hawkwind; others suggest traces of the psychedelically-inclined new wave groups emerging at the dawn of the eighties. On Self-Indulgence, lead vocalist Steve Johnson sounds uncannily like Wilder-era Julian Cope to my ears.

The guitar sounds/textures the VPs created still sound unique and fresh today - even appearing to synthesise synthesisers - possibly a nod towards the New Romantic scene that was breaking through into the mainstream the year this record came out. Only one single, All American Hero, was lifted from the album, curiously backed with the same version of Another Waste Of Time that had graced their self-financd debut.

While neither release made much impact in commercial terms, Polydor were keen on making a second album. Although several songs apparently were recorded, the title of their debut album proved somewhat portentous, and no further releases materialised. One track, Second Thoughts, posthumously appeared on a four track 12" compilation ep, Those That Fell, on Local Records in 1983.

Despite successful tours in the UK and Europe, either as headliners or supporting The Comsat Angels, and an appearance on the Old Grey Whistle Test, the band parted company with Polydor. A mere 13 months after their promising and innovative lone album was unleashed onto an apathetic record buying public, the Victorian Parents decided to call it a day in December 1982.

It's tempting to say as a 13 year old wannabe (i.e. deluded) hipster that I rushed out and bought the album on the first day it hit Bradshaw's (a TV rental company that also sold records) in Lichfield. Truth is, I borrowed it from the local library, and had it preserved on a Curry's no quibble guarantee ferric cassette for years. It wasn't until sometime in the early nineties that I got hold of my gold-embossed promotional copy you see before you now. Purchased from the late great Plastic Factory shop on Corporation Street, Birmingham for the bargain, and simultaneously insulting, price of a quid.

1. All American Hero
2. On The Border
3. Self-Indulgence
4. Dead Red Grass Of Home
5. Uncommunique
6. No Response
7. Wasteland
8. My Advantage
9. Endless Wire

Recorded & mixed July/August 1981 at Woodbine St. Studios, Leamington Spa.
Produced by VPs/John Rivers.
Engineered by John Rivers.

Released by Polydor (UK) November 1981
POLS 1049.

Clinton Beale: guitar, backing vocals
David Phizacklea: bass, bvs
Roy Thomas: drums, bvs
Steve Johnson - guitar, lead vocals.


  1. Thanks - when Frank Neilson from Polydor made the trip from London to somewhere called Lichfield, he was expected to meet a keyboard band - only to hear a guitar band making sounds he knew were unexpected and extraordinary. More than 30 years have passed and if people still appreciate the music - it was all worthwhile.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Mr. P. Are you still involved in music?

      The VPs live on in this household - where are Polydor now?!

  2. This is the one of the best LP in the early 80s. I am from Hong Kong. The LP was first brought to a broadcast station which delivered rare UK sound. And it was in the best 10 of 1981 by a notorious DJ Sam Jor here. I think it was like serendipity I found the LP one day laying in a store, bought it and loved it until now. Though the LP was lost somewhere, the tape and the mp3 I kept always freshened my memory the day I owned this LP.

    The band was terrific, I love the voice of Steve Johnson, they should have turned more popular cos the melodies was great, a little bit dark, low key, alas they only produced this album and disbanded.

    1. I read on the VPs Facebook page that the tapes for the unreleased second album have been located. Plans are afoot to have the tapes digitised.

    2. That would be great!!!
      I can't wait to hear what these numbers sound like. VP should have been a big band like U2. I didn't quite understand why they gave up after leaving Polydor. Record company kills music.

  3. Thanks for the upload. I came across the 7" of All American Hero when going through a box in the loft. I'd forgotten what a great song it is.