This is a review of "Tragic Loss; He Had Such A Lovely House" recorded by Post War Glamour Girls. The review was written by Jamie O'Neill in 2012.
Courtesy of Sturdy Records and I Like Press, I was lucky enough to be sent this EP pre-release. It is the first listen I have given to Post War Glamour Girls, despite hearing their name many a time around the local music scene, so was very much looking forward to it.
The EP starts by immediately implementing a twinkling atmosphere, with a chiming tone initiating the opening track. 'The Trawler Man's Code' contains a slow and charmed build of volume, with a grand crescendo ripping through the tones. The shuffling triplets in the guitar glisten, while growling emotive vocals stutter between angst-ridden snarling and a sweet tone, singing of fisherman's troubles. The lyrics are filled with the trauma of not catching, and therefore losing business, and the drowned cries of 'Down, down, down, down' mimic the depression of failed catches and shame from not feeding his family. Punching staccato undercuts a female wailing melody, and a harsh cacophony in the male vocals rides above the trembling guitar melody. After building to a grand climax and a rich wall of sound, the song cuts out mid-bar, leaving a tense and sudden atmosphere in its wake. A fantastic opener and it's left me on edge.
However, such allure is lost in the next track. 'Today I am a Man' starts well, with a grinding feedback tone leading into a rhythmic unison between percussion and vocals. The synchronicity creates a forceful anger and is very expressed in the opening few bars. However, the song quickly deteriorates into a toneless punk-esque endeavor. Flat distortion in the guitars creates a monotonous moaning, and the light, lilting melodies that are so prominent in the great post-punk acts, as well as the opening track of this EP, is non-existent. It seems discordant and disjointed, with very little flow. While very energetic, it lacks depth and is not pulled off well.
'Tremor' enters with a stodgy guitar rhythm, giving a sturdy backbone for the vocals to sail over. It flows much better than the previous track, with a sense of smooth legato, while maintaining their aggression and power through forceful distortion. The dainty boy-girl harmony is again very prominent and works brilliantly in communicating the creeping and ominous heartbreak within the lyrics. This song is especially effective in endeavoring through contrasts in dynamics, and the quiet-loud interchanges merge perfectly. The rhythmic partnership between the instrumentation is commanding through the bridge section, and is a very welcome development and twist to the song. It ends with glistening vocal harmony, and is a fantastic pick-up from the preceding song.
The closer, 'She Will Always Be My Anchor', is powerful and aggressive from the off, with punching rhythms and grumbling low guitars. The vocals add to the aggression, with vicious growling filled with resentment. This creates a vivid atmosphere, filled with tension and bitterness. With the introduction of the female harmony, a brilliant contrast is established, breaking apart the aggression and depicting a calm manner following the stormy introduction. The mellow section is filled with beauty, with interesting and tuneful harmony throughout the chordal progression in the guitars. Both strength and tranquility are embraced by the band in this final track, and the contrast is executed very well, creating an ever-changing mood and emotion, swapping between sour snarling and the romance of a lilting love song.
In all, this band is capable with experimenting between varying dynamics and they communicate different moods with equal vigour and vitality. Their music is filled with energy, and contains strong rhythmic devices that would lead to a fantastic live show. However, the production is weak in places, and the elements of lo-fi quality do not compliment the post-punk genre very well. The EP lacks in convincing melody and harmony, and despite it being a great listen, I don't think it fully covers and displays what the band are capable of.