A short history to begin with: A band surrounded in controversy over the past year have returned, taking a short break, as they were accused of racism and cultural appropriation due to their previous name ‘Viet-Cong’, which gave reference to the former Vietnamese political party The National Liberation Front. However, the band have re-grouped under a new name, Preoccupations, and deliver that same iconic and captivating sound like before. With the backing of UK band Foals (using the song ‘Death’ to open their recent live shows), and their acclaimed debut album, ‘Viet-Cong’, the band are on course to succeed.
The band still produce that psycedellic feel in their work. Heavy drum beats and monstrous bass lines cascade through the album like a violent torrent of water. The iconic, almost Ian Curtis style vocals of lead singer Matt Flegel all combine to create a breathtaking, incredible listen. The opening track on the album, and first single, ‘Anxiety’ is a slow moving song with a steady tempo and slow pace. Upon first listening the most captivating moment is the start, with a distrorted tune playing, you are then immersed in the sound of Preoccupations without warning. This sound is something that cascades through the album right the way through.
‘Monotony’ is one of the most haunting tracks on the album. the revered vocals of Matt Flegal flow with the rhythm to create a torrent of unstoppable noise. the song brilliant flows into ‘Zodiac’ almost as if the two songs belong to each other. ‘Memory’ (by far my favourite track on the album) is your typical long lasting, hard hitting ‘Preoccupations’ song. With an incredible change in tempo, an unforgettable guitar riff and hypnotic vocals, the song continues to build and build into a wall of noise, getting louder and louder, until just after half way, the music stops, the vocals end and peace follows with an almost entrancing 5 minutes worth of reverb and noise. Haunting yet spectacular.
‘Degraded’ and ‘Stimulation’ offer that fast paced energy which is heard on their track ‘Silhouettes’ from their debut album. The tracks have an incredible build right from the start, then keep at a constant yet enthralling tempo right the way through, allowing the album to flow continuously well. Following on and only enough are two minute long tracks from the band which seem obsessed with long lasting bangers. ‘Sense’ and ‘Forbidden’ slow the pace of the album right down. Both tracks are however, sensational. ‘Sense’ is almost like a prayer. Slowed down reverbed vocals make the song seem ancient and mysterious. ‘Forbidden’ is the opposite of that, its a song in which I can’t seem to get my head around as its over when it just begins with a fast paced guitar riff building then quickly fades away.
The closing track ‘Fever’ is a combination of a psych track with all the things people love about Preoccupations. I feel the vocals are reminiscent of that of an early Interpol track, but then i am sunk back down into the hard hitting and haunting world of Preoccupations, a world thats full of danger, surprises and exquisite music. The album is a March of Progress from a band who have a huge future ahead of them.