Published Jun 24, 2014Much like the American troops' withdrawal from the Vietnam War, USA Out of Vietnam's debut disc is a polarizing affair, depending on whether you pledge allegiance to the world of post-rock or side with the disciples of doom metal.
Starting out with the soaring sludge rock and heavy drumming of album opener "Arcangel," Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes — which was originally released in 2012, but is seeing its re-release now through New Damage Records — finds the Montreal quintet traversing the muggy and murky terrain of sweltering psych-rock (the Boris circa-Smile hymn "Leg of Lamb") and minimalist, droning prog-rock (14-minute epic "Tonight, the Dead Walk"), ricocheting at every right turn into even more disparate and sonically dense landscapes.
Although one could draw similarities between the band and fellow atmospheric and Quebecois genre-benders Godspeed You! Black Emperor (especially with their use of spoken word on album standout "You Are a Comet, You Are on Fire"), USA Out of Vietnam's first-ever full length sounds more Sorrow & Distinction than F#A#∞. Still, for an album filled with limitless experimentation and a lack of restraint considering its runtime (not a single one of the album's five tracks clocks in at under ten minutes in length), Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanesis a surprisingly linear listening experience for a sound seemingly unsure of its place on record store shelves. (New Damage)