Feeling Strange couldn’t be a more apt title for this new album from Post War Glamour Girls, the follow up to 2014’s excellent Pink Fur. Most albums tend to have an overall mood, an atmosphere that leaves one dominating emotion be it happy, sad, excited, angry, content etc. Feeling Strange is no different. It carries a sense of despair and doubt, it’s uneasy in many places in a similar way to the soon-to-be-renamed Viet Cong’s album from earlier this year or Protomartyr’s excellent The Angel Intellect album. However, it’s heavy guitars that dominate those records. Post War Glamour Girls don’t necessarily rely on rock to achieve their tone of voice. Despite all this I just can’t help feeling that there’s something else working its way into my subconscious on this record. There’s some kind of uplifting feeling, a bizarre sense of hope as the uneasiness dissolves.
Opener ‘Felonious Punk’ is a firecracker, its guitars jerk and convulse frantically around a fiercely brilliant vocal delivery which has always been a strength of the band. The lyrics (“if looks could kill my headcount’s mounting”) are chewed up and spat out with a gripping sense of urgency, the black humour that the band capture so well is delivered perfectly. The high-octane start sets the mood, if not the tempo, perfectly for rest of the album.
‘Wax Orphans’ brings the pace back down to earth, its sinister guitars sounding a little like The National in a bad mood. This song takes full advantage of another key strength of this band, the contrast between the vocals. The rugged low pitch vs. the honeyed high pitch play off each other to great effect and are at their very best when both are used together and they frequently are throughout. This song is similar in pace and style to many of the songs on the album although we return to upbeat post-rock on the excellent ‘Southpaw Stance’.
Where this album really wins is through the overall sound, it delivers a sort-of electro-post-punk feel throughout. On the slower tracks the menacing soundscape of keyboards and guitars, often reverb heavy, is dramatic. If slowly approaching black storm clouds made a noise they’d sound like this. Throughout the album the bass sounds wonderful, dark and heavy and completely in control, it’s creeping power building the foundations of every song.
So far so sullen then. Post War Glamour Girls have never been a band you’d expect to fill your heart with glee. Listening to them always puts me in mind of the excellent Girls vs. Boys and that’s about as close as I can get to an ‘if you like that, you’ll love this’ moment. The attraction is akin to that of horror films which are often rubbish but when they are good they’re brilliant. The thrill of fear is close to the mark here. So where does that other feeling I’m getting come from? I’m not sure I can quite put my finger on it. Hope probably isn’t the right word. Encouragement perhaps? Let’s just stick with Feeling Strange. And yeah, I definitely like this feeling.
Feeling Strange by Post War Glamour Girls on Hide & Seek Records is out Friday 30th October 2015. Get it here (there’s a stunning but very limited blue and red splatter vinyl available if that’s you’re thing – be quick)
Post War Glamour Girls tour the UK this November. See picture below for dates.