Viet Cong, gig review: Easy listening this ain’t, but these guys are a force to be reckoned with

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The Independent Culture

This is the first gig of Calgary band Viet Cong’s first UK tour, to promote their self-titled debut album, but if there are any first-night jitters, they’re well concealed as the group launch into a dynamically slick, dense and well-structured set.

Word of the post-punk, indie rock group has spread and although the album was only released at the end of January, the crowd at tonight’s sold out gig already know some of the words and even shout out a request for ‘‘Death’’; an 11-minute-long saga with whining guitars and repetitive, unrelenting drum beats that build to an uncompromising assault on your eardrums. Easy listening this ain’t.

There are echoes of Joy Division in‘‘Continental Shelf,’’ an unsettling yet surprisingly danceable number that marries catchy guitars with angry cymbals whereas "Silhouettes" is a claustrophobic tune, filled with oppressive drums and screeching, complex guitar tangles. Singer Matt Flegel’s voice melts with the synths to become somewhat Dalek-like as he chants "Relay, reply, react and respond / The simple task of turning it on."

But in spite of all the sinister lyrics and scary sounds, when it’s all over you just want to do it all again. If they carry on making self-assured music like this, Viet Cong could become a force to be reckoned with.