Viet Cong – s/t

0004053794_10Rating: ★★★½☆

Viet Cong is a group formed from the ashes of Women, with two members from that lineup going forward and adding two members to create something new. The result is a similar darkwave sound that you might have heard from that past band, but with some nuances that keep things distinctive.

The band starts their debut full-length record out with “Newspaper Spoons,” a crunchy and buzzing staccato track that immerses you in the blackness that this record holds. The vocals are distanced and monotone, chanting single words or short phrases in bursts of lyrics while the extra fuzzy guitars meander and strike in the background. Little riffs of synthesizer join the mix toward the end, cutting through the static wall of noise the band has created with a sleek and clean electronic sound. This track is a good introduction for this record, as it shows you Viet Cong at their bleakest; as the album moves on, the sound gets a little warmer than this number, but for the majority of time, the group lives in this kind of stark musical environment.

“If we’re lucky, we’ll get old and die” buzzily resurfaces as a refrain on the second track of the album, “Pointless Experience:” even when they are at their warmest Viet Cong is still icy and dark. This second track is a departure from the first in that it has some kind of instrumental and vocal variation: the song is fluid as opposed to static. The fuzz is still there, but intermittently as the vocals of Matt Flegel sink into their yelping norm.

Later on you get some more stars song on this album with “Continental Shelf,” and “Silhouettes,” which really pull your ears back to attention near the end and crack the mechanized atmosphere that has been building over each song. “Continental Shelf” is a dramatic tune and the guitar riffs that open the track bring you in from the moment it begins. The vocals are emotive, both when they shrieking along with the instrumentation or mumbling to the simmering beat. “Silhouettes” is the closest that Viet Cong gets to a dance track, as the electric guitars and synth fight to the death for the spotlight and the darkness seems to hang above the music instead of weighing it down.

While Viet Cong as a whole listens quite easily, some tracks are much more enticing than others, which becomes apparent on your third or fourth trip around the album. I find myself gravitating towards the more accessible tracks that are trimmed down: concision works for the darkness that this band brings, and I look forward to see what the future holds for them and their post-punk style.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *