Words by Russell Carstens
Viet Cong emits a cold, nihilistic post-punk atmosphere on their new self-titled album. Formed in Calgary, Alberta (Canada) in 2012, the band self-released the Cassette EP before being picked up by Jagjaguwar. Not a group to be pigeonholed, their monochromatic sound makes you feel as if you stepped inside one of HR Giger’s surreal science fiction paintings.
Fittingly borrowing its title from paranoid fiction author William S. Burroughs, “Newspaper Spoons” opens the album with an overblown death march beat. It’s bleak, detached and industrial. Crystal overtones suddenly appear and briefly transform the song into a shoegazer before fading out. The suspicious atmosphere of “March Of Progress” stomps on and on, unchanging — allowing the pressure to seep in until it’s interrupted by an emotionless, cold-blooded chant and Asian strings. Slightly grainy and lo fi, it’s the most non-linear and interesting track on the album.
Viet Cong skillfully channels its influences without being obvious or derivative. “Bunker Buster” opens with a Wire-esque intro similar to the riffs on Chairs Missing. Very musical and melodic, the song closes with a dissonance-filled post-punk jam. The ambiguous “Silhouettes” whizzes by like a whitewash blizzard. The 11-minute closer “Death” features jangly guitar picking before things get fearsomely noisy at the halfway point, with violent, Flipper/Nirvana-like collisions of feedback and throbbing bass and drums.
Viet Cong is not only a great release, it’s a fitting album to take you through the remainder of another bleak winter. Things look promising for this band’s future material.
© January 20th, 2015
TheWaster.com | March of Progress