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Viet Cong Viet Cong Jagjaguwar

What an entry. Emerging from the ashes of the criminally underappreciated Calgary noise-rock outfit Women, Viet Cong have taken no prisoners in crafting this punishing, abrasive opening snort to a career which may even surpass the achievements of its esteemed precursor.
Opener Newspaper Spoons instantly sets the tone with bristling, repetitive bass drums droning forth, threatening to buckle, as a lone, aimless overdriven guitar buzzes overhead. There’s no let up as the incessant bass hook of second track Pointless Experience dangles on the haunting refrain of “If we’re lucky we’ll get old and die”. There’s little light here.

Yet out of the murk and chaos emerges an unlikely pop gem – Continental Shelf. Well, pop in the context of Viet Cong. Featuring vaguely danceable basslines and stunningly reverb-laden chorus guitar licks, this is the closest Viet Cong come to penning a ‘hit’. And it’s wonderful.

The best is saved till last. Clocking in at over 11 minutes, sprawling finale Death is the musical equivalent of being stuffed into a washing machine. As guitars unfold from glittering tickles to cavalcades of gnarling fuzz, it pulls you in, sends you into a tailspin and spits you back out again, leaving you wondering what day of the week it is. At only seven tracks, Viet Cong does not waver in quality from its discordant opening swagger to its discordant closing hum. An unerringly confident, extremely significant debut.