Preoccupations
Viet Cong


4.2
excellent

Review

by Tristan Jones STAFF
January 12th, 2015 | 342 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Well, what do we expect? A welcomed infirmity

In recent memory, no album has humbled me as much as Viet Cong’s self-titled full length debut. To elaborate, a couple weeks ago I stumbled across a discussion where the topic was ‘concept versus execution’ in music, and I realized my opinion often relies on an album’s conceptual worth; furthermore, digesting Viet Cong became more daunting with each listen, as its execution overshadowed any concept I could derive. The record doesn't stay with me once concluded, or make me reevaluate my own life through introspective lyrics. The album is enjoyable as the sum of its parts, as the Calgary-based act utilizes elements that, put on paper, shouldn’t work as well as they do. Combining post-punk/art punk/noise rock hasn’t been so gripping since This Heat, and Viet Cong manage to sound quaintly familiar, yet unlike any other. There are no throwaways to speak of, and Viet Cong is relentless throughout. Given their harsh beginnings, the tone of the album is peculiar. Their parent band, Women, ended on unsavoury terms in 2010 and guitarist Chris Reimer passed away in 2012; however, Viet Cong don't resemble a band born of tragedy and discord, despite occasionally alluding to Reimer's death in the subject matter. Rather, they are resilient, assertive, and awfully catchy, deftly balancing instrumentation, hooks, and experimentation bookend-to-bookend. Whether it’s the impending pulse of “Newspaper Spoons” or the infectious danceability of “Silhouettes”, everything is seamless.

For the past several weeks I have lived and breathed Viet Cong, through no fault of my own - it’s quite addictive. As a listener heavily reliant on personal connections, I depend on ‘eureka’ moments where the fog lifts and I see the album in broad daylight, tying it to my own experiences. Viet Cong doesn’t do this for me. Despite the ammo readily available, they don’t embrace vulnerability as means to leave a lasting imprint. Though lacking the overarching dismal tone I habitually gravitate towards, every track deserves inclusion, as the album is neither repetitious nor stale, yet the sounds are unified - God bless the production team. The martial drumming in “Newspaper Spoons” differs from that of “March of Progress”, but still carries a commanding presence. Vocals teeter between This Heat-influenced off-kilter harmonies (again, “March of Progress”) to a gasping frenzy in “Death”, the mountainous closing track - the pacing constantly changes, as does the energy level, but it never fails to inspire awe. That being said, it would be dishonest to describe Viet Cong as a pathfinding masterwork; bands in the forward-thinking vein of Pere Ubu set the bar decades ago, though Viet Cong is important in its own right. My prediction: it will become the new flagship for post-punk-revival-that-doesn’t-suck, to put it delicately. And, perhaps more importantly, I predict that when my physical copy makes its way into my stereo, I’ll wear it out abusively.

I don’t do that anymore, really. Between every other facet of life, my music listening prioritizes around absorbing a new album, then moving on to another. I simply don’t make enough time to overplay an album until it loses relevancy, only to revisit it years later and feel the resurgence of joy. Viet Cong is an album I’m wholeheartedly willing to devote time to and, thirty-some-odd listens later, I still feel anticipation and an eagerness to explore every nook and cranny. On a critical level that might not count for much, but on a personal level it’s pretty damn special. Whether it’s the beautifully discordant guitar work, or the way vocalist Matt Flegel occasionally hides just below the surface only to emerge triumphant, Viet Cong boasts nearly-infinite replayability. Just as I’ve hit repeat to the point of nausea, the rhythm of closer “Death” slows with fatigue only for Viet Cong to grab me by the scruff of the neck and haul me back onto the dance floor. Maybe I’m being held hostage, so to speak, and trapped in a one-sided relationship that will surely be the end of me. Maybe this is Stockholm syndrome, though if it was I wouldn’t actually know. Oh well. *Repeat*



Recent reviews by this author
Black Wing No MoonSufjan Stevens The Ascension
Nocturnerror Last Seconds Of Resentment RequiredPaula Temple Edge of Everything
Jon Hopkins SingularityReindeer Field Reports From The Western Lands
user ratings (616)
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
StrangerofSorts EMERITUS (4)
Kicking off 2015 with a century of influences and a fair bit of death....

helpoemer420 (4.5)
Check your anxieties, no need to suffer endlessly...

jtswope (4)
Viet Cong’s debut album ascends high beyond the malaise that strikes at its creators’ heels....

larrytheslug (4.5)
Viet Cong's debut channels fervor reminiscent of purposeful and captivating post-punk bands of old....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Jots
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2015


7311 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

http://www.npr.org/2015/01/11/375894264/first-listen-viet-cong-viet-cong

http://www.flemisheye.com

http://www.jagjaguwar.com

props to Cometodaddy for proofreading way back

had this written up for a while but finally there's a legit stream so



update: so apparently the band changed their name to "preoccupations" but tbh i'm not gonna edit the review

Chortles
January 12th 2015


21494 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

holy shit

Ryus
January 12th 2015


22113 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

YAY!

Digging: Hyroglifics and Sinistarr - BS6

Snake.
January 12th 2015


22600 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i don't think i'm good enough to jam this





should i jam anyway

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2015


11798 Comments


Wow this is probably one of your best reviews man, truly exceptional stuff.

TheBarber
January 12th 2015


3957 Comments


Oh Yes!

adr
January 12th 2015


12097 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

rules hard, Continental Shelf is soty

Jots
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2015


7311 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Death is my fav off this



TheSonomaDude
January 12th 2015


7299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This review was expected, very excellent album. Pos

ArsMoriendi
January 12th 2015


32762 Comments


Good review, pos'd.

My only criticism isn't really a criticism, but: this review reads like a 5, not a 4.5.

Digging: John Coltrane - A Love Supreme

Jots
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2015


7311 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

"this review reads like a 5, not a 4.5."

ehh disagreed, a 4.5 is a pretty high score and this album is still too fresh to drop a 5/5 on imo

Cygnatti
January 12th 2015


34310 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No it isn't. ^_^

Digging: mum - Finally We Are No One

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2015


57526 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

gotta check

Digging: Bladee x ECCO2K - Remote Utopias

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 12th 2015


64779 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

its not modest mouse dont bother

TheBarber
January 12th 2015


3957 Comments


review is the best btw

Ryus
January 13th 2015


22113 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

two negs wtf that is the most negs i have seen on a johnny review and on this review?? i dont getit

TheSonomaDude
January 13th 2015


7299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Seriously who neg'd this.

BMDrummer
January 13th 2015


14682 Comments


it's time

KrazyKris
January 13th 2015


2749 Comments


Review is nothing less than brilliant. Still no desire to listen to this

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
January 13th 2015


10886 Comments


Agreed, very good review. Pos'd hard



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy