There’s been a positive buzz building around Robert Post for a little while now. There have been some very good reports coming from his slots supporting Aimee Mann on her recent tour and now his chirpy first single is being granted a fair amount of radio airtime by the kind of people who are usually on the ball about these things.
And he deserves it, the fuss and fanfare; or, at least, that song does. Got None is an instantly endearing pop track with a lovely jangly quality. In fact it wouldn’t sound out of place on Mann’s divine Magnolia soundtrack (for starters the intro seems to have been nicked from her cover of One). It loses points however for containing the lyric: “I’ll try to be the sweetest candy you’ll suck on” – which is just wrong on so many levels. Despite that Got None is a good song, but unfortunately very little else on this, his eponymous debut album, comes close to matching its charm.
Don’t get me wrong, Post is adept at providing quirky and diverting musical moments but the alchemy that resulted in Got None seems to have been a one off; all the elements remain but the magic is never recreated.
The main problem seems to be the patchwork manner of the songwriting; there are lots of memorable episodes but they seem to have been stapled together in a rather random fashion – and, as a result, the songs themselves often fail to flow. Ocean and a Tear is a particularly bipolar example of this, containing periods of musical mania and periods of calm introspection, both of which work on their own terms though they don’t really gel together.
His lyrics are also curiously convoluted. The album boasts some really questionable syntactic decisions and even odder expressions. You can get away with a lot of course when writing lyrics, there are no rules as such; but still there’s a not quite right-ness to a lot of his phrasing that proves distracting. Perhaps it’s just me, perhaps I’m the worst kind of pedant, but it bothered me. Of course, Post hails from Norway, which may go some way to explaining his odd relationship with the English language, but the occasional lyrical oddity wouldn’t be that noticeable were the songs stronger.
To be fair, his music does exude an idiosyncratic charm and it’s something of a relief that he’s not just another intense singer-songwriter in the Damien Rice mould. There’s lots to enjoy on this album, which shares the oxymoronic Scandinavian perkiness of The Wannadies, but things need to be tighter if he’s to succeed.
Post’s debut contains one bright and exciting track – and a lot of good snippets of songs. There’s obvious talent there. All the ingredients are in place for creating something special, he just needs, if you’ll forgive the lame metaphor, a better recipe.