Three different names, three different eponymous albums. This is the story of “Preoccupations” a new album by the Canadian band Preoccupations (previously Viet-Cong). Three different names because the group is made up of two former members of the rock band Women that in 2008 recorded an(other) eponymous album.
Chapter 1: Women band disbanding in 2012 after an indefinite hiatus which lasted from 2010 because of an onstage fight. The guitarist Christopher Reimer died in February 2012.
Chapter 2: Viet-Cong band was born in 2012 and during the 2015 the album “Viet Cong” was released.
“We are a band who wants to make music and play our music for our fans. We are not here to cause pain or remind people of atrocities of the past”. With this sentence, in 2015, Viet Cong announced the change of the band name in Preoccupations (officially in 2016) after accusations of both racism, cultural appropriation and cancelled shows.
Chapter 3 began. No peace was found. September 16th, 2016, “Preoccupations” album was released. This is a new album that moves away from the sound of the first job. Nine Tracks, 38 minutes. There is no peace for this band and this feeling is reflected in the album. An album without peace. An album in search of peace. Both Viet Cong and this album feature 11-minute showcases but in this second album is in the middle while in the first was the last track. Probably this is the only analogy.
Preoccupations is a deep work that analyzes different sides of the human soul. It is a step forward compared to the first. The opening track “Anxiety” is powerful, straightforward and gloom. Incessant use of synth that brings them close to the synth-pop.
“So cryptic and incomprehensible/ Encompassing anxiety.”
If you know this feeling, this song will bring you there. Again.”Monotony” and “Zodiac” are linked by a continuity. There is no silence between the end of one and the beginning of the other. A powerful lack of silence.
“Memory” 11-minute track is the mirror of the band soul: irresistible, opened and experimental with ambient sounds, melodies that disappear into trails, a four-on-the-floor beat and a cameo by Dan Boeckner (guitarist and voice from Wolf Parade). To put a 11-minute track in the middle of the album was a very brave decision. Such long tracks usually are at the end of an album (as in the first job). But this choice pays because this track breaks the album in two parts.
“Degraded” and “Forbidden“, the fifth and seventh track are two more representative tracks of this work. Intense tracks, cadenced rhythm and magical atmosphere (especially the second one).”Sense” is the only claustrophobic track that brings us back to the first work of the band: a rare bird.
38 minutes of post-punk with (luckily) a wave of positive music-experimentation to a complex sound that is easy to hear and make their own. An important next step toward the peace sought deep throughout the album. To be continued…