Viet Cong, the self-titled second release from the Canadian Viet Cong, is a post punk album that builds a story which twists, tangles and grows up until the “Death”. Their first release from 2013, Cassette EP, was originally put out on a demo cassette and was heavily toured gaining Viet Cong enough recognition to earn larger audiences and venues including this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival. Viet Cong is an album that seems to be structured to consume and experience as a whole, not just a selection of separate songs placed together under one title.
Viet Cong is made up of Matt Flegel (Bass, Vocals), Mike Wallace (drums), Scott Munro (Guitar) and Daniel Christiansen (guitar) and was formed in 2012 in Alberta, Canada. Flegel and Wallace were previously in the band Women, which called an indefinite hiatus in 2010 after an on stage brawl and the following year the lead guitarist of Women, Christopher Reimer, passed away. Flegel and Wallace were also in a Black Sabbath cover band with Christiansen before Viet Cong formed.
The opening track to Viet Cong is the industrial “Newspaper Spoons”. It is as if Big Brother had a thick post punk song it address the citizens with. Halfway through “Newspaper Spoons” breaks into a cleaner cacophony of cascading synth. “March of Progress” is a 6 min long focal point to Viet Cong. It has an enormous intro that layers in on itself building into a wall of tightly knit organized sound that breaks into the bear essentials. Flegal happily sings the cycnical lines “We play the life secure with give and take/We build the buildings and they’re built to break/Tell me, tell me, tell it to me, tell it straight/ What’s the difference between love and hate?” Flegal’s voice is commanding, and comforting in the way an authority figures voice can be.
“Bunker Buster”, with twanging guitars that match the minimalist march of the drums, encourages the listener to sway and move. With a softer indie into “Continental Shelf” pulls briefly into an eerie industrial drone for the verses which acts like a thin fog filling all the space between the melody. The last track on Viet Cong is the 11 minute long opus entitled “Death” that has subsections that flow in seamlessly together keeping attention for the entirety. It is the soundtrack to a breaking down apocalypse, a desolate death excited by the life that preceded it.
Listen to “Continental Shelf”
1) Newspaper Spoons
2) Pointless Experience
3) March of Progress
4) Bunker Buster
5) Continental Shelf