Viet Cong – ‘Viet Cong’

The Calgary noise band's hard-won experience colours a debut full of bold experimentation

At first, Viet Cong’s debut appears to be coming from a dark place. “If we’re lucky we’ll get old and die” sings bassist Matt Flegel on ‘Pointless Experience’, but context is important: three years after his former Women bandmate Christopher Reimer died tragically at 26, it’s equally plausible that Flegel is instead fetishising the ageing process. The Calgary noise band are completed by ex-Women drummer Mike Wallace plus guitarists Scott Munro and Danny Christiansen, so they haven’t quite ripped it up and started again. Fans of Women’s challenging melodies will appreciate the songcraft here, but Viet Cong are very much their own animal; with deep forays into demonic white noise (‘Continental Shelf’), clanging post-punk (‘Silhouettes’) and psychedelic/prog-rock on sprawling closer ‘Death’, they’re expanding into adventurous new directions. Best of all is ‘March Of Progress’, which starts out as a brooding industrial throb before turning on its heel at the halfway point and racing off to a hinterland of glorious, chiming beauty.

Rob Webb

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