As of yesterday’s post I had made it back to the U.S. from Berlin (and Prague! …but I didn’t buy any records there) and back to the welcoming sight of records on my doorstep. The second album by Preoccupations, though the first one in which they called themselves Preoccupations, was one I had in the queue for a while, in large part because it’s an excellent post-punk record and that was pretty much all I was listening to—well, not all, but a lot. And the constant need to have new material for my goth DJ night made it necessary to keep the vinyl fresh. Though I’m not sure I ever played anything from this album, especially considering I only did one more goth night after I bought this record.
I remember being pretty excited about this record, despite the fact that there was a lot of controversy about the band leading up to it, namely that they had previously been called Viet Cong, and people were beginning to question the judgment in that, particularly from a bunch of white guys from Canada. They did eventually change their name though, and admitted they made a mistake, but nobody really questioned it for a while, which says a lot about the industry, and writers/critics. I’m no better here, because I didn’t really think all that critically about their original name, but it was an important conversation to have, and they responded to the criticisms the way they should have, by changing their name to something with less dodgy implications.
It’s good that things played out the way that they did, because I’d hate to have to be frustrated with a band that put out a record this good. And it is, indeed, very good. A bit more streamlined and rhythmic than their debut, which had more moments of discordant noise and abrasion, while this record uses similar textures in order to achieve a more accessible end product. It’s good music! I like it!
Part of what I like about the record is that it’s ostensibly a modern “post-punk” record, but the edges aren’t sanded off. It hits hard. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard some vaguely dreamy/shoegazey band with Peter Hook-inspired basslines, but everything about them feels very sanitized and lethargic. Not to mention the whispering and pillow-soft snare sounds. This is not my beautiful house!
Anyway, rant over. Listen to this album if you like contemporary post-punk-inspired indie that isn’t lost in a haze of lethargy.
Sound Quality: Great