Viet Cong – Viet Cong

A clatter of shadows and drones, twisting against the scattered vocals and ambient sounds.

I had to listen to this record twice before it started to make sense and I could explore it. But once inside, I keep discovering new nooks and crannies, unexpected doors, walls and windows with each listen. Vast rooms of delightfully challenging sonic pleasures, exactly the type of listening experience I look forward to when I try a new record.

In my recent hankering for a new Graham Coxon album, I found this to be something equally as jagged and visceral as A+E, with added spark from the Joy Division-esque vocal lines, the John Cale drones, and some surprisingly poppy melodies beneath it all.

It opens with the rumbling apocalypse of Newspaper Spoons, complete with accompanying drill-in-your-ears guitars, fading into an ethereal sequencer loop. It’s a striking way to start the record and it only gets better.

The finest track on Viet Cong , March of Progress, begins noisily then breaks into an¬†insistent, driving¬†rhythm with a Beatles reminiscent vocal melody over the top. It then evolves again into fast paced pop weirdness. It’s a long journey over a breathlessly short running time for a song so ambitious, which makes it an exhilarating experience.

While at face value it sounds harsh and inaccessible, beneath the surface it exhibits an eclecticism that makes it more rewarding with every listen.

Recommendation: Mandatory

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