If albums are like nuts, then the self-titled debut LP from the Canadian group Viet Cong is without doubt a Brazil nut – tough to crack, but intensely rewarding with a bit of effort.
For one thing, it is very difficult to categorise or place an album that has so many sonic influences: from the intriguing, listenable noise of ‘Newspaper Spoons’, to the percussive energy of ‘Bunker buster’, and the throbbing, almost mechanical build and euphoric volta of ‘March of Progress’, the album is a mix of moods, sounding at times industrial and post-punk, at others almost like a product of the Australian psychedelic pop revival.
While the song titles seem somewhat bland and deadpan – think ‘Death’ and ‘Pointless Experience’ – the tracks are far from it. The roles of instruments are subverted, with the bass piercing through a six string growl, on top of drums so heavily filtered they sound sampled from a Perc album.
The value of this album, therefore, is very much rooted in its crafting. Without a political axe to grind, or romantic sentiments crying to be released, it is not an album with baggage – despite the death of an ex-band member from a former project.
What is quite clear, however, is an inner conviction and pleasure in the beauty of four people playing in a room. Give it the time, and the effort, and it is an album that will give great pleasure.