New Material is the ever so triflingly named third record from Calgary alternative post-punks Preoccupations (including the eponymous debut album as ill-named Viet Cong, of course).
It’s fair to say that the last effort, 2016’s Preoccupations, split opinion; nobody hated it, but there weren’t many screaming from rooftops about it either. Following the chest-beating barbarous style of 2015’s Viet Cong, Preoccupations felt a little vapid in parts and lacked that primal intensity.
New Material then would have to do well to realise those days again, but it sure does fall as close to it as could be expected. Offering something in between the previous two albums, New Material is perhaps their most ‘rounded’ record (I am reserved in going as far as to say “accessible”). Lead single ‘Espionage’ is a track as belonging to their debut record as they’ve created since and, unsurprisingly then, is rather epic.
Preoccupations/Women/Viet Cong, whatever, will always be a band best placed to serve from the comfort of the shadows; a cult band for the resolutely angsty. That said, lead singer Matt Flegel states that “(New Material) is somehow the most up-tempo thing we’ve ever done” which – while not blindingly obvious – can indeed be winkled out on tracks such as the tinny six minute ‘Antidote’, stoically maudlin of course, and yet inducing a a totally opposing sprightly high.
7. Doubt And Comply
Released: March 2018
Cat: JAG320 / Jagjaguwar