Amanda Palmer said earlier this year that the upside of the Trump presidency would be the return of protest music and, with Post War Glamour Girls, you’ll hear political music in the vein of Fugazi. Truth be told, we should be suspicious of any band that does not make political music in today's climate. Leeds’ post-punk quartet Post War Glamour Girls follow up 2015’s acclaimed Feeling Strange with their third album Swan Songs. Recorded in the remote village of Skerray on the North Coast of Scotland with producers Jamie Lockhart and Lee Smith of Greenmount, PWGG are tackling themes of stress, anxiety, depression, the class system, religion, war and government here, often in an obtuse fashion. Swan Songs is an expressionist outpouring of grief, despair, and resignation. Not fun then, at least not in the conventional sense. But isn't unconventional fun preferable to the norm?
It starts out messy with all the instruments playing different rhythms on ‘Guiding Light’ but by the time James Smith’s Bob Mould meets Courtney Taylor-Taylor voice comes in everything is pulling together for a pounding post-punk anthem. The noisy guitars and subdued anger of ‘Gull Rips A Worm’ suggest that PWGG are kin with Australia's The Drones. ‘Big Trip’ and ‘Pollyanna Cowgirl’ are sing-a-longs in the Scott Walker does Jacques Brel tradition, with added distortion pedals.
‘Golden Time’ is another pillar of PWGGs slow set along with ‘Gull Rips A Worm’, with a melody reminiscent of System Of A Down’s ‘Aerials’, if it were written by Damon Albarn. ‘Sea Of Rains’ is a Jeff Buckley meets Echo And The Bunnymen gothic extravaganza and I'm sure I’m not the first to compare PWGG to noughties anarchists Ordinary Psycho.
The call and response of ‘Welfare By Prozac’ is close to being a sing-a-long, by way of The Fall. Album closer ‘Divine Decline’ unveils an idealist manifesto; firstly of the socio-political kind, then of the personal, backed by an unrelenting crescendo of churning guitars and apocalyptic drumming. With this album, Post War Glamour Girls have made the record that Future Of The Left have been promising to for the last half decade.
Swan Songs is available via Amazon.