Viet Cong are the sort of band that makes you think use of the word "eclectic" should have been saved especially for them. On their first full-length album, simply titled Viet Cong, this group's music encompasses lo-fi noise and hi-fi electronic sheen, fuzzy guitars and thundering digital percussion, relentless drum patterns looping through banks of undefinable and formless sound, droning keyboards bumping up against indie rock guitar bashing, and clean and jangly 12-strings cheek by jowl with deep, echo-laden vocals. While Viet Cong only boasts seven songs, there seems to be at least three times as many musical personalities making their way through this music, and despite the spacious range of sounds and perspectives, Viet Cong manage to fuse it all into something scattershot yet coherent, unified by a strong stylistic through-line and an abundance of energy. Viet Cong's four collaborators -- Matthew Flegel, Scott Munro, Michael Wallace, and Daniel Christiansen -- have filled this album with cool but addictive melodies, guitar work that can sooth or bludgeon at will, and plenty of sonic atmosphere, while producer Graham Walsh (working in tandem with Flegel and Munro) gives the music a muscular presence, making especially interesting use of the stereo image. And while Viet Cong have more than a passing fancy for indie rock's past -- Sonic Youth, Gang of Four, and the Jesus and Mary Chain are just three of the obvious touchstones one can hear in these songs -- the performances are full of the joy of discovery and the crackle of fresh ideas introduced to the mix. Viet Cong were a group full of promise on their debut EP, Cassette, and with their harder, heavier, and more powerful debut album, they're making it clear they have the talent and smarts to become a major force in Canada's indie community.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming