Album Reviews

Post War Years – The Greats And The Happenings

(Wealth) UK release date: 18 May 2009

Hailing from the musical goldmine of Leamington Spa, Post War Years are an interesting proposition. A couple of well-received singles into their career, the band are releasing their first long player.

So far, so usual, but this is an outfit who count among their influences the likes of Clor, Television, Talking Heads and Tom Vek. McFly these boys are not.

But what have Simon, Henry, Tom and Fred been able to craft from such an array of stimuli? The initial impressions are encouraging: The Red Room jitters into earshot with alternating stabbing and lilting synth, the vocal evoking paranoid electro of times past.

This opening gambit shifts stealthily into scaling bass and guitar, a measure continuity achieved through what must be their trademark staple – semi-spoken vocals ranging from yelps to soars, a healthy dose of apparent mistrust encroaching on every syllable.

Whole World On Its Head reveals other tangible inspirations in the form of Hot Chip and Mystery Jets, its minimal electronic roots sprouting up into the kind of choral climax that’s just asking to be roared along to. It’s probably the LP’s highlight.

A rather more melodic approach ensues, Den’s delicately picked crescendo leading into White Lies and Red And Blue, two much shorter tracks that up the tempo with impressive Who Made Who-like funkiness, the former endowing the album its voice with the refrain; “It’s not what you do that makes you tired / It’s how you sleep at night.”

Slap bang in the middle of the tracklist comes Soul Owl, an effort that brings Post War Years’ formula to its logical zenith: dischordant synth chords dominate instrumentally, growing splendidly into something more harmonious as the boys let their voices rip. It’s sublimely well executed.

The Greats And The Happenings’ coda, however, shows the band don’t have to appeal to pop sensibilities alone. False Starts – despite its brass stabs – has a sufficiently serrated edge to keep it just the right side of challenging, and Latin Holiday betrays an indulgence in sound that remains utterly listenable.

The album – while not perfect by any stretch – is a fascinating prospect from a band who appear to have a bright future ahead of them. Those at the Leamington Spa Music Hall of Fame ought to be keeping an eye out.

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Post War Years – The Greats And The Happenings