Post War Glamour Girls
Hide & Seek
It must have been one of their first singles on Sturdy Records. I listened to it and I just didn't know what to make of it. It seemed so accomplished, yet the influences (I presumed something so accomplished must be heavily influenced) were out of my sphere of understanding, or appreciation. So it was either great, or a rip-off, and I couldn't tell which.
Post War Glamour Girls have earned this debut album, something that seems to be less and less true of bands in the DIY age. But it hasn't taken until now for me to solve the conundrum of paragraph one. A series of increasingly confident releases, developing their style and making themselves more accessible, yet more idiosyncratic too, and a live show which has blossomed and felt more natural the larger the stage has got, convinced me and many others long ago that this was a very special band.
So this album arrives with the correct combination of expectation, goodwill and anticipation. And in my case, on a beautiful pink vinyl. So, sorry it took a while PWGG, but if I was going to review this, it had to be on the finest possible format.
To cut to the chase, it is beyond what their fans had any right to expect. They haven’t taken the easy route of compiling together their most beloved early singles. Instead we have something unperceivable dense, delicately constructed and brand-spankingly new.
The bottom end of PWGG’s sound still emanates from a cauldron of pure doom, thick and rumbling drums and prowling bass, but above that the interplay between vocalists James Smith and Alice Scott have been developed to gorgeous effect, whilst the guitars and structures in general have really pushed things forward, carrying the mood from the broken euphoria of an early I Like Trains wall of sonic assault, to a Tarrantino Western, to the internal monologues of the clients at the worst strip club you’ve never stepped inside. The trips and turns are expertly crafted. It doesn’t waste time trying to flow. The music just 'does itself' to you, for want of a more elegant phrase.
This density / intensity is carried through in the lyrics, and there is some kind of connected narrative here (given nice circularity in the closing track), should you wish to follow it. To be honest, just having a lyric sheet, which feels quite rare nowadays, was a pleasure, as was the difference between the voice I used to read it in my head, and the unashamedly colloquial manner with which James delvers lines like ”use yr fuckin’ ears and listen.”
There’s more in these ten songs (oh yeah, I’m meant to mention some aren’t I? Ok Sestra is a great place to start – and that’s probably why they put it first. Red Terror was the single and you can watch the video here. Black Dolphin is a well timed and beautifully implemented wave of gently wonder amongst the sleaze and trauma) than most bands produce in a career; in terms of little touches, big moments and generally, seconds of brilliance that make you stop what you are doing and pay attention. That make you glad you splashed out for the fancy vinyl when you are a jaded review writer.
Finally, a thing I love about Post War Glamour Girls, is how natural it all appears to come, at least from an outsider. I think back to first seeing them on a big stage at Beacons, and again at Wakefield Theatre for our own Long Division, and how at ease and capable they seemed of pulling off that scale of show.
That, on this record, they mix such ability with a heart-warming sense of righteousness and commitment to the DIY cause is the icing on a cake that is crafted with determination, passion and, shit, it’s got the tunes too. Pink Fur proves it all. Give me more cake.