Recorded with Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck) inside a barn, Viet Cong maintains the same shadowy, droning tones that haunted Cassette, only taking them deeper into the abyss. At the same time, it's strangely more direct and unconventional: One minute there are magnificent melodies feeding off Flegel's dismal lyrical outlook and creeping voice and chiming through "Continental Shelf" and the synth-bleeding "Silhouettes"; the next, their restless determination to explore all avenues takes over and the songs begin to metamorphose into three-part juggernauts. Together, "March of Progress" and "Death" could have accounted for another four songs to add to the track list; both songs delve into this band's collected influences, moving from ambient noise and jangle pop to goth and post-punk.
It's these frenzied, sharp-turn transitions are what make this band feel so vital, so alive and so different. And really, there is no better way to end an album that with a song called "Death" that does its absolute best not to meet its end. (Flemish Eye/Jagjaguwar)