Viet Cong - Viet Cong (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Viet Cong

Viet Cong (2015)


There have been quite a few good to great, heavily hyped post-punk albums the past few years (Iceage, Merchandise, Parquet Courts) but few as genuinely experimental and stormy as Viet Cong. Formed from the rhythm section of the band Women, Viet Cong's first album is gloomy, pretty, and surprisingly jammy - this album only has one fairly poppy single "Continental Shift" and even that has downward guitars that sound like glittering pickaxes falling over and over next to stomping drums. The whole thing is slick with sweat and hard as ice at the same time.

And it's more accomplished than many debut records because it comes from rock veterans specifically. These aren't kids just starting in the garage, these are guys who have been in the indie rock game and know what they want to make, and the whole record has the feeling and confidence of Public Image Limited and Siouxsie and the Banshees in that regard, even while distinguishing themselves (slightly) from those bands. "Death" has the bleakness of 80s British post-punk while being much more "hard rock" and it's about three minutes longer than expected as the band just plays it out. Maybe to the band's detriment - Viet Cong's best songs are the singles, like "Silhouettes" as they're shorter and sharply honed. "Bunker Buster" is an exception to that rule, like an addictive super-group of The Fall and Echo & The Bunnymen arguing over sound and coming into the middle.

This is one of the best indie albums of the year thus far overall, throbbing with apathetic menace even as the songs feel incredibly catchy. This is an album for the harsh of the cold, for when the snow doesn't even matter and all you can feel is the wind and the dark whipping at your face. Tread carefully on the frozen ground.