Viet Cong: Viet Cong

John McCain’s most anticipated album.

Viet Cong’s self-titled debut full length is easily my most anticipated album of the year thus far, and it does not disappoint.  This Calgary based post-punk/art rock act formed from the ashes of Women following the death of guitarist Christopher Reimer.

While the guitar work is heavily reminiscent of Women–jangling, leaping and at times disorienting–the music behind it is tonally darker and rhythmically purer (and with markedly fewer 13/8 time signatures).

The record opens with an overdriven, tribal drum beat behind chanting vocals and harsh and discordant guitars before ending with entrancing synth which leads into the upbeat, tight and almost digital sounding percussion and shoegaze inspired guitar of “Pointless Experience”. In “Silhouettes”, Viet Cong takes on a more dance-punk tone (imagine a more foreboding Bloc Party or Interpol). Even the more straightforward hooks on songs like “Continental Shelf”, easily the most accessible track on the album, are contrasted with jarring noise in the very next phrase.

Throughout every song the bass, synth (or is that guitar?) and vocals trade roles in maintaining a steady drone, the greatest unifying factor on the record.

In conclusion: Viet Cong is bitter, and I love it.

Recommended if you like: Women, Ice Age, My Bloody Valentine, Joy Division

Recommended Tracks: “Continental Shelf,” “Silhouettes,” and “Pointless Experience”

Reviewed by John McCain on January 21, 2015

KJHK 90.7 FM