Album Review: Preoccupations – Preoccupations


Preoccupations dropped their self-titled album last Friday, September 16th, and it rocked. If you are feeling stressed, which, let’s face it, we all are – you should give it a listen.

Who are they? Preoccupations, a Canadian post-punk band, changed their name this year due to the controversy of their former band title Viet Cong. Their music is not politically charged, but they were accused of cultural insensitivity. There were protests across the country, and their shows were cancelled on some college campuses. Not everyone has the opportunity to release a second self-titled album, and Preoccupations succeeds. Building on the sound they’ve already established, this album does not disappoint.

I was worried that with a new name, the band would take on a new sound or image. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard the familiar punk/psychedelic drive with a strong bass. The album carries intensity and each song pumps into the next one. When I first listened to it, I thought this album gave off a deeper and darker sensation, but it also has a refreshing, mellow sound to it. Each song flows into one another and connects, making the album cohesive and concise with a good balance of high energy and rhythmic waves that you can sit back and listen to. Also, drummer Mike Wallace absolutely killed it and gave the album the perfect punchy punk feel.

The band has come out and said that this album addresses each of their emotional preoccupations. Each one-word titled song is unique with a different sensation, but they all seem to coexist. Listening to the lyrics alone, I think they’re pretty depressing, and they reveal the bands’ feelings about life and how they have struggled. Their music carries a sense of tense, nervous energy. Writing this album was probably therapeutic for the band, and as I listened to it, I felt somewhat relieved at the end of the last song.

Here’s the track list:

  1. Anxiety
    2. Monotony
    3. Zodiac
    4. Memory
    5. Degraded
    6. Sense
    7. Forbidden
    8. Stimulation
    9. Fever

“Anxiety” introduces the album, indicating the feelings of someone struggling with this. Vocalist Matt Flegel’s deep voice carries the weight and depth of the disorder. They also released a music video to “Anxiety” that’s very dark. Even though the song “Memory” is over 11 minutes long, it is probably my favorite on the album because it’s so dynamic, and it feels more upbeat. The middle of the album is the perfect spot for it. Also, the song “Forbidden” struck a chord with me. The song has an Arctic Monkeys “AM” feel to it. The final song on the album “Fever” carries an optimistic feeling -- as if you can see the light after all of your worries. Closing the album on a lighter note with “Fever” wrapped it up effortlessly.

Preoccupations dropped and delivered. Enjoy your weekend, “carry your fever away from here,” and check out some new music.

-Amanda Thompson

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