Preoccupations
Viet Cong


4.5
superb

Review

by helpoemer420 USER (27 Reviews)
February 6th, 2015 | 10 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Check your anxieties, no need to suffer endlessly

Death is the one inevitability. That statement in itself is obvious, and not abstract at all. Canadian four piece Viet Cong wallow in death, and in the obvious and the abstract. Jangle pop guitars fight against drone noise, fight against post punk croons, fight against martial drums; all trying to beat death.

Vocalist Matt Flegel and drummer Mike Wallace formed Viet Cong after the collapse of their former band Women, and the death of guitarist Christopher Reimer in 2012. Here we see the band’s apparent fascination with the subject, yet it’s not heavy handed. Viet Cong play with death, it’s a mere fact and they choose to ride with it until the logical conclusion, where they close the album (on a track called ‘Death’), with sweat and droning instrumental crashes, and then they *** off.

Viet Cong’s post punk is claustrophobic and paranoid like all the greats, owing as much to the discomforting experimentation of This Heat and Fear Of Music’ era Talking Heads, to the hooks of Interpol; Flegel truly beckoning Paul Banks’ haunting voice in tracks like ‘Pointless Experience’ and ‘Silhouettes’. The experimentation leads to a dense chaotic mess of ideas, yet the band never suffocates their songs with them, leaving them free to remain accessible, energetic and almost catchy. ‘Silhouettes’ seems to have at least three hooks amongst the new wave-esque synths. Lead single ‘Continental Shelf’ lifts its rumbling and raging verses to reveal to a hypnotic, dancing chorus.

This is the light amongst the darkness that Viet Cong choose to celebrate. Their music is indeed droning, despairing and dangerous, but they also shine, and shuffle on, accepting death as a mere thing to talk about. After an increasing crescendo of mechanical drums and static, Flegel declares “If we’re lucky we’ll get old and die” on ‘Pointless Experience’, and if we take into context the premature death of Christopher Reimer, it becomes not a nihilistic ode to misery, not even a triumphant call to live, but just a frank hope.

After ‘Death’’s lengthy, violent, exhausting conclusion, the listener is left cold. Despite the defiant energy and emotion and considerably short running time, Viet Cong is a draining listening experience for all its abstractness and refraining from intimacy. It does overwhelm you and maybe even suffocate you, but after the fog clears you’re still around. So all you’re left with is to put it back on and live with it until the dark, empty month of January is over.



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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....

Tristan Jones STAFF (4.2)
Well, what do we expect? A welcomed infirmity...

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 
helpoemer420
February 6th 2015


188 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

can also be found here http://thnksfrthrvw.tumblr.com/post/110259726956/overseas-viet-cong-viet-cong

PappyMason
February 6th 2015


5702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

'Death is the one inevitability'



Well, death and taxes...



Nice write-up. 'Death' absolutely destroys live.

helpoemer420
February 6th 2015


188 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I could be seeing them in Leeds tomorrow but instead Im going to see my friend in Leicester for her birthday smh @ my life

PappyMason
February 6th 2015


5702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ah, gutting. I saw them yesterday and they were pretty great.



Don't worry about it though, I've missed so many great artists over the last couple years - being poor isn't that much fun...

MattTD
February 6th 2015


678 Comments


One time I voluntarily passed up on seeing Vampire Weekend so I could let my younger brother go instead. He then did not go.

Nicely written. Pos'd.

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
February 6th 2015


57546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wanna rock

Digging: Bladee x ECCO2K - Remote Utopias

Slut
February 6th 2015


4255 Comments


Bunker buster & Continental shift

anobsoletevernacular
February 7th 2015


262 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Definitely a frontrunner for AOTY

Digging: Palberta - Palberta5000

AngryNeighbor
February 7th 2015


219 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

definitely no

InfamousGrouse
February 7th 2015


4349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Be surprised if it's not top 3



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