by Ben Adsett
Everyone’s favourite punk rock misfit, Jeff Rosenstock (Kudrow, Bomb the Music Industry, Quote Unquote Recordings) has pretty much guaranteed the first album reviews of 2018. Arriving on New Years Day, via a pay-what-you-want deal, his new record, Post, is the perfect late Christmas present.
This surprise release follows his unpredictable onstage persona perfectly, and within seconds the record is off to a flying start. After a simple 5 second intro, ‘USA’ opens with a solid reflection on 2017; “Dumfounded, downtrodden and dejected”, before detailing the decline in morality under Mr Trump. But from this negativity we move on with the unmistakable GR sing along chorus followed by multi layered instrumentation that builds and fades into feedback. From here, the momentum takes an experimental turn, and rather than the snappy songs and explosive endings audiences have come to expect, we get haunting keys overlaying repetitive hooks which slowly build aural layers upon layers. These layers are removed as quickly as they’re created and the opener fades out into a slice of pure surf punk which evolves through post hardcore, indie, pop punk and beyond.
It’s in that diversity of sound that combines his frantic live performances with solid musicianship and some incredibly personal lyrics. ‘TV Stars’ has a heart breaking Ben Folds style chorus and addresses personal criticisms, body image and mental health, yet it offers the calmest moment on the album. ‘Melba’ creates a beautiful contrast, with a tale of friendship and picking people up when they’re down, all told to an early Cribs and Front Bottoms style sound track. Complete with a gang vocal chorus refrain, it’s a track that places the listener in a sweaty, but gentle, room, singing along.
The frantic nature of the opening couple of tracks is soon revisited; ’Beating My Head Against the Wall’ has a huge nod towards Weezer, while penultimate track, ‘9/10’ takes a Flaming Lips style bassline and drums and creates a bittersweet duet with a fascinating guitar solo. It combines shrill and beautiful sounds into something really special.
This beauty lures the listener into a false sense of security which makes the deep choppy RATM style bass line of ‘Let Them Win’ really stand out; an eleven minute call to arms. This most epic of protest songs perfectly book ends the release, and combined with ‘USA’ creates a cleverly catchy political statement before ending on an instrumental tone giving a moment to reflect.
It is clear that Post see’s Geoff Rosenstock and his contributors (Pup, Dan Pothast, Laura Stevenson and Chris Farren) taking 2016’s DIY smash hit Worry and the disenfranchised anger of the current political climate and combining them into a bitter creative project. Lyrically this release understandably gets heavy really quickly (imagine having Trump as your president) but it does not lose the clever hooks.
Post is out now for PWYW download and streaming from jeffrosenstock.bandcamp.com and is released physically on 23rd March 2018 by Specialist Subject Records (Europe) and Polyvinyl Record Company (Rest of World).