Devout followers of the math-pop junket made popular by Foals, Foals and well…Foals, Post War Years take the songs of their predecessors and layer them with joyful and innovative blips, pads, sweeps and beeps. This album is incredibly well crafted and painstakingly put together. The slow-attack motifs in ‘Whole World On It’s Head’ are perfect to the point of emotionally stimulating. And the little choir pads that punctuate the same piece! Bliss. ‘White Lies’ is a slice of wonky chilli peppers-baiting glory, with yet more addictive samples. At this point in the album, I was crossing my fingers and hoping that there is an extra member added to their live setup purely to trigger all these little bits of brilliance.
Rewinding to the start, ‘The Red Room’ is basically ’15 Steps’ by Radiohead. Wait, it’s more then that. It’s OBVIOUSLY 15 Steps by Radiohead. Until the vocals come in that is, and then we’re reminded that it’s not Radiohead, just a band that can create music to their same standard. Yes, it may be a bit of a rip-off, but it’s a good one!
That’s not to say that Post War Years don’t have a sound of their own. ‘Soul Owl’ is a pretty and original piece. ‘False Starts’ boasts a mean slappy/poppy bass line and perfectly placed brass parts. In fact, the further you delve into this album the more leftfield it gets, Post War Years seemingly deciding to throw all the club bangers in first, holding angry jerk-off spazzy tracks like ‘Latin Holiday’ till the end. Tracks like the three previously mentioned sometimes suffer from overcomplication , but not enough to distract from the overall quality of the songs.
I guess the problem most people will have with this record is that it can sometimes sound a bit like Foals, or Battles, or Radiohead. But with all three of those bands being peerless in their respective fields, it isn’t really that bad a thing to have new bands coming up not only representing the sound, but also improving upon it. Blind copying is always bad. Intelligent reshaping and presentation like the songs included in The Greats And The Happenings should be smiled upon and welcomed with open arms.
And there we have it. What was once old is now fresh again. Whether this will successfully translate to a live scenario will remain to be seen. I say remain to be seen, I’ll tell you guys as soon as I catch them live. This album has done the rare job of making me want to see Post War Years in the flesh, if not for their great songs, just to prove to me that they can reach the same level of finesse live as they can on record.