Post-Haste – Untitled

Post-Haste
Untitled

I know it’s an overused term. I know everyone and their mother’s uncle is using the term to describe bands of every genre and influence. I know it’s a word that most folks that I personally know are absolutely tired of hearing. Let’s face it, kids, “garage” is the new “grunge.”

So what happens when a band comes along with a release that actually does sound like it was literally recorded during a live performance in a garage? … And what happens when there’s nothing stylish, trendy, or ironic about that performance? Instead of sounding like a purposely unpolished pop band cashing in on a fad, what happens when a band releases something rather gritty sounding that actually has feeling, warmth, and substance? The answer to all of these questions can be found in Post-Haste’s Untitled.

I was surprisingly hooked on Untitled after only one listen. Sure, the mix is uneven at times – the vocals get nasally at times, cutting through the backing instruments; one of the rhythm guitars gets a bit muffled in the mix at points; and the cymbals seem to linger over the instruments a bit too much during some songs.

The charm of this album is in the imperfection, though. What the guys in Post-Haste do with these 12 songs is offer up one of those rare collections of music where the flaws add character and personality to the performances. Playing Untitled in my bedroom, I can close my eyes and easily imagine myself sitting on a dingy old couch tossed in the corner of a dark garage, watching a group of fellas band out a ‘practice set’ before hauling equipment to play an opening gig at some local dive bar.

I love it. I love it, I love it, I LOVE IT. Performances like these are wasted on sub-par material; luckily for Post-Haste, the songs here are simple and catchy. “Insides Out” serves as one of the album’s crowning moments, sounding like something a high-school-aged Rivers Cuomo might’ve busted out. What makes the song so good? Well, it could be the sweet, muzzled ‘oooooh’ backing vocals, or the sweetly plaintive vocals riding over the impressively tight rhythm section during the verses, or maybe even the way the guitars explode into dueling rhythm lines at one or two points in the song.

The 20-second opening to “Practice Prude” sounds like some sort of homage to The Who before the guitars bash out some fuzzy chords and turn the track into something Superchunk would be proud to drop on wax. Album opener “Frozen Thin” is a bit more contained than the rest of the material here, though the gravely vocal parts and slightly unkempt guitar solo bit are more than a bit reminiscent of Nirvana’s Bleach days. The extremely basic sounding “Academy of 3” chugs nicely on simplistic riffing; “Chemical Favours” melds textbook pop/rock riffing with handclaps, whimsical backing vocals and a catchy-as-you-wanna-be chorus into two minutes of head-bobbing action.

While other songs on Untitled hint at a bit of The Who’s simplistic beauty from the 60s, the two-minute grimy pop purge of “I” legitimately sounds like something I’d expect to hear on a reel of unpublished Who rehearsals/demos. The more contained, poppy “New Brighton the Mighty” is a nice change of pace, though the band is at its best on tracks like the album-closing “Symmetry,” which couples aggressive riffs with rhythm section explosions and unnaturally sweet backing vocals (which only make the impending guitar rips on the chorus seem that much more powerful).

It’s great to see that the members of Post-Haste knows the band’s strength and stick close to it for most of Untitled. Catchy, quick-riff tracks are the name of the game here, and the only place the disc even remotely near falters is on the four-minute “Green Alumni,” which stands out as just a bit too drawn-out amongst the rest of the material here (only one other song on the disc even passes the two-and-a-half minute mark, and even that one runs under three minutes). No pretension, no ‘trends’, no hackneyed attempts to sound like a million other bands that are making money and grabbing Rolling Stone/Spin headlines – this here is just straight-up, plug-in and rip stuff, and man oh man, Post-Haste does it well. Recommended for fans of the true spirit of being in a rock band.