Viet Cong - Viet Cong

Viet Cong is the self-titled debut by this foursome from Calgary. This album is the follow up to last year's Cassette EP, and it's chalked full of sonic whines, hums and murmurs all set in a kind of impending doom-like atmosphere. The album often seems to musically wrestle between pessimism and optimism; a sense of doom often interrupted by bursts of hope.

The album begins with "Newspaper Spoons" and the muffled sounds of marching drums. The cadence of the drums leads us forwards towards Matt Flegel's chanting vocals, which are surrounded and accompanied by squealing guitars. There's a kind of post-apocalyptic feel to this opener conveyed through the music and the repetitive nature of the lyrics. However, this ominous feeling is subdued as the track draws to its end with the emergence of sunny sonic rays emanating from the band's synthesizers.

Distorted guitars wail through "Pointless Experience" while pops of bass litter the musical environment. The psych-pop feel of the music is nicely juxtaposed to the melancholy of the lyrics such as, "If we're lucking, we'll get old and die."

"March of Progress" follows with its industrial soundscape droning on for nearly three minutes before the lyrics begin, accompanied by what sounds like a GuQin or a similar instrument. The intonation of the vocals will remind you of Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd.

"Bunker Buster" and "Silhouettes" offer nice changes of pace, with the latter moving at a rapid clip to the formers more measured and artsy feel.

From the drones and noise of synths, thumping muddied drums to distorted guitars, the band finds itself successfully playing in the production of the album. While Viet Cong is lumped in to the post–punk genre, their influences from psychedelic, industrial and '60s era rock/pop are on full display throughout; these varied sounds will only open the door to the future of the band.


--Fredy M. Iuni hosts Hiway 1, Mondays at 7:00 pm on CJLO.