Preoccupations – Preoccupations
What’s in a name? In the music world quite a lot apparently! Despite the fact that last year’s dark and twisted debut from post punk band Viet Cong received widespread critical acclaim there was ever growing criticism of their name. There are plenty more offensive band names out there but nevertheless the band decided it was time for a change. They seem to have overcompensated by choosing the dullest name they could possibly think of, and for some unknown reason it has had a noticeable affect on their sound. Rather than dark and sinister a lot of the album has a brighter indie vibe, albeit maintaining the post punk complexity on tracks such as the 11 minute ‘Memory’.
The change is perhaps most notable on the bookend tracks. Album opener ‘Anxiety’ has hints of old-school Arcade Fire and synth heavy closing song ‘Fever’ bears more than a passing resemblance to the soundtrack of Stranger Things. Whilst there’s nothing necessarily wrong with their new experiments, I felt like they were on to a winning formula with their debut and I stand by the idea that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The change here is more than just skin deep, the band have made a clear effort to completely reinvent themselves. Whatever they are trying to do they aren’t quite there yet. This album feels like an awkward adolescent phase somewhere between the band they once were and who they are trying to become.