After the tragic and untimely death of Christopher Reimer (isn’t death always untimely?), ex-Women members, bassist/vocalist Matt Flegel drummer Mike Wallace formed Vietcong in 2012 with guitarists Scott Munro and Daniel Christiansen. Is it difficult to outrun the shadow of your former selves? Maybe the best solution is merely to stand a few feet ahead of the shadow, one eye on the future/present and a toe in the past. On Cassette, Vietcong manage to escape the velocity of their previous band, Women while remaining in geosynchronous orbit of their criminally overlooked underappreciated former band.
Cassette maintains a meticulous attention to dissonance, noise and abrasiveness coupled with a healthy respect for post-punk standard bearers like Chairs Missing-era Wire and the more experimental songs of Joy Division; “Atrocity Exhibition” and “Decades” pop up on the simil-o-meter. Rather than derivation, the band comfortably iterates on previously chartered themes.
On “Oxygen Feed” traces of Velvet Underground DNA weave throughout the song’s chorus.
The final track, “Select Your Drone” is a trip into a Wendy Carlos-inspired ocean of synth. A staccato heartbeat drives the song forward in half-time, accompanied by biting angular guitar stabs (fuck that description in it’s music journalist butthole). This is one of the more interesting tracks on the record as it recalls at times the more somber work of long time David Lynch collaborator, Angelo Badalamenti
If you think a Vantablack pair of 511’s would fit well in your wardrobe and may or may not have at one time owned a vintage type writer you used to punch out DMT-fueled prose, then this album would be a nice compliment to your expanding collection of sonic ephemera. If you like Velvet Underground, Joy Division and the occasional dalliance with Burroughs’ epic Western Lands trilogy, pick up a copy to soundtrack your silent existential crisis at your local record store.