A continual state of flux – that's Post War Years.
If their debut album found the band translating to studio life, subsequent EPs ‘Glass House’ and ‘The Bell’ saw them become fluent. Experimenting with the way they approached song structure, production, sound each new step seemed to take Post War Years closer to where they wanted to be.
Now this. Second album 'Galapagos' is set to be released on Monday (February 25th) with Chess Club Records once again stepping in to support the band. Produced by friend and long term fellow traveller James Rutledge, this is where the group discover their true voice.
A massive step forward, 'Galapagos' finds Post War Years etching out soaring highs and crushing lows, capturing the vivid energy of their live shows in the process. Matching moments of genuine self-doubt and introspection, the new album contains all the guts and glory of city life.
Ahead of its release, ClashMusic is able to stream 'Galapagos' exclusively on the site. Tune in below, then find a track by track guide written by Post War Years.
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Henry: I think from the moment we finished that track in the studio we knew that it had to open the album. It has such an unassuming intro that you don’t immediately know where the song is going to go. I suppose what excited us about it was the surprise-element of this huge, cavernous drop into the chorus. It also has quite an unconventional chorus, given that there’s no actual lyric, but instead a pitched-vocal hook. Pop suicide? Maybe, but we decided to put it out as a single, as it felt like a statement of intent and a progression from our first album.
The Bell Simon:
Like many other people, I’ve always had a deep fascination with the idea of superior alien beings existing somewhere in the cosmos. Probability dictates that somewhere beings or entities far more advanced than us will be exploring, conserving, and observing. The Bell darts and licks around that subject… how would they view us? As primitive, war obsessed apes? Does love define our humanity? The loneliness of the human race is completely depressing. I think they should call us and invite us out for dinner or something.
Henry: Glass House transformed from a very laid-back, dark little demo into one of the more colourful, pop moments on the record. For a while the verses felt more chorus-like than the actual chorus, so we spent a lot of time throwing ideas back and forth with James (producer) in an attempt to get the dynamic right. We have to thank him for sifting through a pretty hefty amount of audio to solve that particular conundrum! There’s no real mystery to the lyrics here. It’s a bare-all breakup song, but hopefully not one that bathes in its own misery.
Simon: Be someone is pretty direct and simple. Lyrically it's about about watching a friend you love waste their life sitting around contemplating the complicated, unimportant things. The truth is (I guess) that we can’t all be happy all of the time, but you never stop wishing that those you hold closest were at least content, healthy and reaching for something better… something that makes them happy.
Tom: Growl started life as a couple of dueling bass-lines, which is something we’ve always gravitated towards. Then the beat progressed from this fairly simple tom-fill on the demo into these mad cut-together improvisations. The song itself is meant as a reflection on that period in your life when you’re confidence is unassailable and you’re trying all these new experiences. There’s comfort and warmth in that delusion but it’s fragile and inherently false… hopefully the lyrics go some way to explain that feeling, while obviously also being about lions.
Simon: We were pretty broke one winter and it felt like we were just sort of existing for the sake of existing. All of our friends were breaking up with partners, no parties happened, we had shit jobs, no one had any money, we were in this alien town and everyone was living apart. It deals with the importance of friendship in tough times. You can feel content curled up on a mattress with your best mate drinking cheap wine, happiness is a complicated bastard. Never search for happiness, it’s hidden in a fucking bush in Nepal somewhere, buried under fifteen-hundred tonnes of wet sand and rock, but occasionally it’ll fly over and visit you. I don't know.
Tom: Mellotron sounds like a dark film score. It’s big and grand and pretty theatrical and the choruses are all about this fairly ostentatious vocal line. When I was singing it in the studio I had to imagine I was about 40lbs heavier and surrounded by a troupe of backing singers giving it some… I mean, I say I had to; technically no one was forcing me.
Simon: It’s perhaps the most obvious guitar moment on the record. We just decided to stick with a simple palette of sounds for this one. Lyrically, it’s about male insecurities, losing touch with close friends… It’s a bit depressing really, I feel a bit bad for writing it. I guess I’m dragging my sorry ass through the snow toward some sort of sun-lit clarity… via a stuttering panic attack.
Henry: Nova was a late addition to the album. It started life as a beat idea initially. I wanted to write something fairly relentless, but for the pulse of the song to come from the rim and hi hat rather than the kick drum. The demo was quite staccato and close-sounding, but we came out of the studio with probably the most ambient moment on the album. It’s a definite favourite of mine in terms of the sound palette, as I’d like to think it sounds distinctly modern rather than retrospective. James’ production, particularly the vocal treatment, took it somewhere that we hadn’t envisaged, but immediately loved. Lyrically, I can imagine that it will be perceived as a matter of the heart, but in actual fact it is not. Cryptic…
Simon: I suppose it’s an agnostic song. If there’s a god out there, in my view she would have giant hugging arms and a caring, all-knowing smile. I think the idea of God comforts some people and I find that interesting. If you’re religious, you probably draw some sort of comfort and strength from your faith… I guess I’m jealous of that. I suppose it’s a delicate subject. I’m just really pleased with the synth sounds and the ambient swells that we constructed.
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'Galapagos' is set to be released on Monday (February 25th).