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Viet Cong

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Album Review

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.

Biography

Formed: 2012 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '10s

Playing a clever, expressive fusion of art rock and lo-fi pop that maintains a very human pulse despite the extensive use of electronics and noise, Viet Cong were formed in 2012 by Matt Flegel and Scott Munro, two musicians from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Flegel was a member of the celebrated Calgary indie rock band Women, who'd broken up several months prior, while Munro had formerly played guitar with Lab Coast. While touring Europe as part of Chad VanGaalen's backing band, Flegel and Munro began...
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Viet Cong, Viet Cong
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