Viet Cong–March of Progress

I became familiar with the legend of Viet Cong far before I heard their music.  Forming in the fallout of Women and making their debut EP only available on cassettes at early gigs, a hum of excitement quickly formed around them.  But even that brilliant EP couldn’t predict the beautiful complexity of the eponymous album they released in the early days of 2015.  There are perhaps better examples of their abilities at writing surprisingly canny pop tunes or ably demonstrating their impressive musicianship, but March of Progress is the defining track of the album, marrying both in a breathless wonder.  Fuzzed-out distortion leads to a droning, angelic glow over a rattling rhythm before the chords turn sour.  Just as it verges on too bleak, the track is suddenly alight with twinkling, harp-like guitars.  But instead of letting you settle into the hypnotic jangle, the band finds yet another level, erupting into jubilant, bristling pop.  “Tell me tell me tell the truth and tell it straight/what is the difference between love and hate?” pleads singer Matt Flegel, before the song collapses in a heap, with nowhere left to climb.  It’s an exhilarating outing from a band with boundless talent.

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