Posts Tagged ‘decade’

THE POSTAL SERVICE – Manchester Academy, 18/05/2013

June 4, 2013

The standard hubbub of pre-gig chatter at tonight’s gig is even more excitable than usual, no doubt owing to the fact that tonight’s audience have been listening to The Postal Service’s sole album for a decade, with little sign of a follow-up or live performance. But when the familiar electronic pulse of ‘The District Sleeps Alone Tonight’ kicks in, that anticipation dissolves into pure joy, and everyone swiftly loosens up. Tonight is most assuredly going to be a party.

Those 10 years certainly become apparent – Jimmy Tamborello’s array of bleeps, whirrs and clicks sound curiously timid in a world still gripped by dubstep’s thudding bass.

But for all that, it’s fascinating how warm those songs still sound. From the sweeping sadness of the melodies to Ben Gibbard’s adorably nasal croon. “I watch the patchwork farms / Slow fade into the ocean’s arms,” he sighs, and suddenly it’s impossible to understand why rock music (or at least the strand known as ‘indie’) ever had any difficulty crossing over with electronica.

These songs are as gloriously affecting as anything Gibbard has composed for the guitar-focussed Death Cab For Cutie, with those softly understated loops melting imperceptibly into his typically bookish narratives. You could rarely call The Postal Service ‘dance music’ – they sure ain’t Daft Punk – but everyone present does their best to groove along, turning nearly every lovingly-memorised line into a gleeful anthem.

Two new songs have been included in the recent reissue of ‘Give Up’ – ‘Turn Around’ and ‘A Tattered Line Of String’ – but they represent the only previously-unreleased material in tonight’s set. Nothing hints at a second album.

We do, however, get Jenny Lewis duetting with Gibbard on a rapturously-received ‘Nothing Better’, a giddy Beat Happening cover (‘Our Secret’), and a brisk run-through of the track that started the whole thing: Dntel collaboration ‘(This Is) The Dream Of Evan And Chan’.

The set closes with Gibbard manning the drum kit stage left, as band and crowd alike coo, “everything will change”. Is this a sign that their productivity is about to increase? Or a line is drawn under the band for good? It’s impossible to tell, but at least everybody got what they came for: an intense hit of euphoric nostalgia. In that respect, The Postal Service certainly deliver.

(Originally published by Clash Music, 21/05/2013)


Get the fuck up!

January 22, 2010

It seems quite strange to imagine that the length of time between the Minor Threat 7″ and Nevermind is now equal to how many years have elapsed since nu-metal’s heyday. I was 18 at the time and it was easier to go out, get drunk and bawl along to Limp Bizkit than i’d perhaps like it to have been.

It all seems faintly embarrassing now – has there ever been a musical movement so pointlessly angry? Grunge may have been full of self-pitying Gen-Xers with little to say for themselves, but at least a lot of the tunes and some of the bands still stand up. It’s harder to imagine
Rollin’ or Last Resort capturing the imaginations of future generations in quite the same way as Smells Like Teen Spirit or Touch Me I’m Sick still seem to. Although music is a funny thing – rule out a nu-metal revival at your peril. There was a time when it seemed like the 80s (‘the decade that taste forgot’) could never possibly be cool again.

Still. Ten years, maaan! How did that happen?