Preoccupations: New Material review – fresh start for band formerly known as Viet Cong

Fri, Mar 23, 2018, 05:00


New Material




The artists formerly known as Viet Cong have now doubled the output of their controversial moniker. While Viet Cong certainly wasn’t exactly a safe bet for a band name, provoking accusations of racism and cultural appropriation, the whole furore begs the question whether a band called Joy Division or New Order would be tolerated in a hyper-sensitive modern age.

The Canadians used to be a band called Women, who dissolved after an onstage fight. Their guitarist, Christopher Reimer, died in 2012, at the tragically tender age of 26.

Preoccupations - Espionage

Preoccupations have moved on musically, bringing more electronica to the table in a bid to broaden their claustrophobic post-punk. Consisting entirely of songs with one-word titles, New Material follows Tracey Thorn’s Record as another plainly titled but exceedingly pleasing album.

Disarray shows they know how to detonate a thrilling pop melody smack bang in the middle of an experimental soundscape, making them sound a little like a 21st century Pere Ubu. Solace starts off like a long-lost Joy Division track, before heading off to do its own sweet thing with a psychedelic guitar solo and curiously uplifting lyrics about completely falling apart.

Even better is the instrumental parting glass, Compliance, which sounds like a contemporary post-punk cousin of I Am a God by Kanye West as updated by Bauhaus, but with added drone. Sounds absolutely mental on paper, but very much a good thing.