Post War Years - Galapagos
Following their dreams to London, the Leamington foursome made a few ripples with their debut record, The Greats and The Happenings. Recording the LP in a claustrophobic East-London warehouse/living quarters was an intense process dusted with bust-ups and frayed tethers, but it got an album out. It was a lo-fi explosion of prog-dance from a group still finding their feet, but it was a starting point that showed real promise. The band don't look back completely fondly, but they aim to prove themselves worthy of a title shot in with new effort Galapagos.
They've spent approximately eighteen months working on the follow-up, touring with relentless furore and getting into German electronica. Their close relationship with recent indie heavyweights Everything Everything shows, and the knack for weird-pop is mirrored here – but Post War Years aren't ones to lazily mimic something: they've whitewashed their influences with a thick coat of that prog-dance sound they cultivated on album numero uno.
The apocalyptic 'All Eyes' stormed blogs last year. It's a clash of shimmering synthpop and dark, malevolent post-rock, chock full of grinding guitars and the moonlit dazzle of keyed arpeggios. Main singer (there are three, who sound uncannily similar) Henry Riggs' sampled diva howl welcomes the chorus, a robust conflict of strained immediacy and electronic spite. That reliance on electric elements blended with live instruments continues throughout Galapagos allowing for a strong mix of sounds that's not only full of originality, but also damn interesting to listen to. 'Volcano' is a math-indie gem, undeniably hook-laden and helmed by almost choral guitars. There's a elegantly clumsy rhythm squirming under the track, like a drunk supermodel trying to walk down the catwalk in eight inch heels.
The band are sculpting a haywire sound with meandering bass and anxiety-attack percussion, making for intriguing – but ultimately awkward to dance to – rhythms. The noise is jammed with goings-on, which some people may call cluttered: there are samples galore, polyrhythmic percussion and a frantic thatch of vocal lines, all fervently arguing and embracing via harmonies.
'The Bell' has glitchy beats fused with space-age laser blast synth, dissonant sirens and melodic pads. It's all a bit 80s, sometimes coming off like Depeche Mode (minus the sultry vocals of Dave Gahan), other times sounding more like Spandau Ballet in its epic pop nature. 'Lost Winter' ticks and vibrates as it unfolds into a surprising folktronica effort, which is almost sweet, and Higgs' trembling voice echoes the shivering lyrics "We are lost in the winter." The chorus is blizzard-big, featuring icy cool synth stabs and tribal beats. Closer 'God' sees the band tone down their wacky shenanigans and create something sort-of simple; it's a climactic post-electro number with baroque synthesizer noises and a huge pop-oriented timbre.
Post War Years have strived to make something that is distinctly and uniquely them - which they absolutely succeed at - but there's also an overflow of ideas within the music. There's lots going on and it will take many listens to truly grasp everything within the tracks - although the way they've made the record could split opinion, the same way
Man Alive did in 2010 for Everything Everything, meaning some people won't want to take the time to get to know what Galapagos has on offer, which is potentially a great shame. Nevertheless, it's a solid, intriguing second record from the band who are growing exponentially.
Purchase and listen
The feel of the debut EP by Post War Years is best summed up by the video to the eponymous track 'Glass House'. Created by surreal filmmaker Tobias Stretch, the band's electronic beats and mellifluous vocals are accompanied by a girl being chased around a darkened building by a hoard of truly terrifying clowns, and a robot that looks a lot like a psychedelic dalek. It's at once absurd and brilliant, dark and colourful, haunting and cathartic. [read more]
East London’s annual spring festival once again returns to take over the bars, clubs, basements and holes of EC2. Taking place tonight on a Thursday rather than Friday night and with a distinctly weaker line-up, the streets and bars are noticeably bare of the drunken bodies and spiralling queues of last year’s rammed festival. Even for Shoreditch on a normal Thursday evening, it’s disturbingly quiet. The Village Underground for Mazes is cavernously empty, you could literally run from one ... [read more]
If it feels like absolutely forever ago that Post War Years released their debut album, it's because, in relative terms, it is. The band's excellent debut, The Greats and the Happenings, was unleashed upon the world back in May of 2009, but it's only relatively recently that the Royal Leamington Spa-based band have ventured back into the fray. [read more]