Solitude Sounds – Viet Cong – Viet Cong – Album Review
by Killian Laher
Canadian band Viet Cong released a debut in 2015, before changing their name to Preoccupations. Kicking it off are the thunderous drums and chanted vocals of Newspaper Spoons. This, like the rest of the album, sounds odd as bejaysus but somehow, it works. The song, one of the briefest on the album, dissolves into a looping keyboard line. Matt Flegel’s mannered vocals are like an unholy fusion of Peter Murphy and Iggy Pop. The strangeness continues on March of Progress, which spends three minutes sounding like a malfunctioning machine before transforming into an apocalyptic chant:
“Lately, there’s a wound that needs some healing soon
Before the infection can set in”
– for two minutes, then it switches again to a synth disco track. There’s so much going on in each of these highly dense songs.
Bunker Buster is more dark-sounding guitar pop which descends into noise, followed by the clipped, grinding guitars of Continental Shelf. It’s one of the more accessible moments here, like a gothed-up Interpol.
On an already thrilling album, the next track Silhouettes if anything takes things up several notches, barreling along like a 200 kilometres an hour post-punk bad trip over icy synths. Which is exactly what the 11-minute final track Death is, a train ride of ringing guitars, pounding drums and stabs of bass, lurching from relatively restrained instrumentation to roared vocals and pummeled drums, culminating in a long drawn out instrumental workout. This tapers off into what seems like an endless bass loop before jolting back into the song. It’s like a descent into hell, something like what the Stooges did in the seventies on Death Trip. As song journeys go, it’s exhausting and exciting, for sure.
There are many bands ploughing the post-punk furrow, but this is an exhilarating album, giving the genre an album full of invention.
Track List –
1. Newspaper Spoons 03:02
2. Pointless Experience 02:59
3. March of Progress 06:19
4. Bunker Buster 05:55
5. Continental Shelf 03:18
6. Silhouettes 04:12
7. Death 11:17