For Fans Of
Jeff Rosenstock’s third solo album (not counting 2012’s ‘I Look Like Shit‘ mixtape) is a concise, punchy and anthemic collection of emo and pop-punk tunes held together with copious amounts of cynicism and self-loathing. At this stage in his solo career, Rosenstock (formerly of Bomb The Music Industry!, among others) has forged a fairly unique and recognisable sound that he wears proudly and without apology on his most recent album, ‘POST-‘. In fact, he’s fast becoming an instantly recognisable face in alternative music, whether it be through his own releases or behind the production desk, as on The Smithies’ newest album ‘More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me‘ – very much a cousin album to any of the records in Rosenstock’s discography.
For some out there, ‘POST-‘ could very well be the point at which many begin to get bored with Rosenstock’s music, as there isn’t a whole lot that deviates from previous outings, but for me his music is still so goddamn catchy, so honest and so instantly endearing that I am more pleased that we now have more from him regardless if it is born from such familiar DNA. Were we to get two or three more of these albums then that sentiment may begin to change, but I’ll be damned if ‘POST-‘ isn’t a whole lot of fun. And beyond the no-frills punk rock, there is a scathingly and brutally honest singer-songwriter who has consistently told it how it is without fear or censorship, while simultaneously looking inwards with painful specificity. The balance between these two lyrical approaches is key to the success of this newest album in particular: it doesn’t dip too far over towards overly political or social commentary that could have very easily made it tiresome or preachy, and it doesn’t decline too much into constant explorations of crippling doubt, social anxiety or self-deprecation (the last Smithies’ records tipped a little too far in this direction for me).
By hitting a comfortable middle ground between these two approaches Rosenstock doesn’t rely on you to be totally keyed-in to either one of those two worlds, but rather simply experience real life with him. That’s key for me, I think, when it comes to talking about this album – there is a whole lot of truth in it that, while it wouldn’t necessarily make for commercially viable pop hits, turns an already very solid punk rock album into a genuinely cathartic experience. The refrain of “we’re tired, we’re bored” in ‘USA‘ seems to become more and more anthemic as the composition ducks and winds around it, morphing into a number of fist-raising triumphant moments.
At only 40 minutes, ‘POST-‘ is a comfortable length for this kind of musical experience – lethargy is exactly what you don’t want when momentum is the name of the game, and ‘POST-‘ continues to rip through right to the 11-minute closing epic of ‘Let Them Win‘, before the epilogue that winds it all back down. Were it longer and demanding of more commitment or concentration then it would certainly need a little more dynamic variation, ebb and flow, or unpredictability, but for what is, ‘POST-‘ shreds from start to finish in both an incredibly endearing and emotional way.
We may eventually get weary of Rosenstock’s music if his discography continues down the rigid path it has so far for much longer, but right now, I’m so stoked with his solo work, and that extends to ‘Post-‘. Awesome stuff!
- Yr Throat
- All This Useless Energy
- TV Stars
- Beating My Head Against A Wall
- Let Them Win
‘Post-‘ is out now.