Album Review



by Preoccupations

9 / 10
16th September 2016

Reviewed by Oliver Gaskell

For some, a band’s name is a representation of their sound - so when the Canadian group Viet Cong changed their moniker to Preoccupations it felt like a rather drastic shift in identity. Understandably, the band's previous name stirred up some controversy; conjuring images of war, radicalised politics and violent resistance. However, it seemed a fitting banner for the band's tense, emotional and socially conscious brand of post-punk.

The new name feels, in part, like a response to that controversy, with many critics and music fans hung up on the band's dubious title instead of absorbing the fact that Viet Cong’s self-titled album was one of the most powerful and engaging records of 2015. Moving forward, the Preoccupations new self-titled ‘debut’ hardly feels like a reset, instead it refines the visceral sound of old. The newly christened group make a powerful, driving and moving racket – drawing from 80s post punk legends like Joy Division and Gang Of Four whilst maintaining a sense of personal identity and experimentation.

The band's nervous energy perfectly complements tracks like ‘Anxiety’, painting a vivid picture both lyrically through lines about “second-guessing just about everything” as well as musically - through almost overwhelming repetition and dissonant guitar effects. The strong connection between words and music is the key to the Preoccupations' sound, with songs like ‘Stimulation’ acting as expressions and extensions of their titles and lyrical content.


is a both an echo of the past and a new beginning, showcasing a band capable of artfully expressing the depths of human emotion.


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