Sounding like The Talking Heads on a Sex Pistols budget, Canada's Viet Cong originally released this debut album last year on a cassette-only release. As you would have expected, not many people got to hear it and so the band have pulled themselves together and have given this DIY album a general release. The aptly-titled 'Cassette' was one of the big talking points on the underground music scene last year, not only for its novelty value but also because Viet Cong had also amassed a huge cult following for themselves in the process, making this quaint homage to pre-iPod listening even more in demand. But it looks like we are all invited to listen this time round and judging by the sound of this record, it seems we were missing out.
'Cassette' is, for use of a better phrase, a cheap record. It's minimal production and lack of punch add to that nostalgic idea of what records used to sound like, but just like any good band, Viet Cong have used it to their advantage and created an album that transcends the quality of the recording and simply delivers on expertly written material that builds into stunning musical landscapes from start to finish. It's use of psychedelic electronics and reverbed vocals give the record a more atmospheric sound that allows you to simply enjoy it playing rather than focus on any particular instrument or riff. The album plays as one giant being and leaves you feeling lost in the music.
It may have come from a publicity stunt beginning, but 'Cassette' is far from being a style over substance record. The band have this incredible modesty to their music that allows all of them to play without ego and create music that shines on all of them together as one.