Post War Glamour Girls’ winning formula continues on Swan Songs

Swan SongsPost War Glamour Girls' sound is enormous. It's the first thing you notice about Swan Songs. Solid craftsmanship and strong musicianship have led to a collection of songs that could fill any room, from closets to stadiums. Almost any of the tracks on here are single material, and that's impressively rare from any band.

Swan Songs manages to do that without becoming bombastic. There's a definite subtlety and nuance here, one that only becomes visible on repeated listens. That's especially the case with the lyrics. The sheer power of the music can push them onto the back burner the first time you listen to the album, but they're worth a second glance. Particular lyrical highlights come from the sombre "Sea of Rains" and the self-loathing "Chipper". But this is an album I'm sure will reveal more upon further exploration.

There are some obvious musical touchstones here. A definite Joy Division influence comes through; other reference points can be found in Gang of Four or Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. But Post War Glamour Girls wear their influences well, allowing them to inspire rather than constrict their musical output. So far so good.

If there's any criticism to be made, it's strangely linked to the previous suggestion that almost all the songs on Swan Songs are single material. Taking each song in isolation, it's true to say they're consistently excellent; as a collection of songs, they excel in exactly the same way. That's not necessarily negative per se: Post War Glamour Girls have a winning formula, and it's not surprising they don't want to deviate from it too much.

But considering that Swan Songs is their third album, they've already proven conclusively that they know how not to put a foot wrong. It would be nice to see them just taking a bit more risk with the songs, especially when you take into account that they do exactly that once on this album and it pays off in spades. Album closer "Divine Decline" is a stone cold seven-minute classic. Starting with what is almost spoken word delivery, it slowly burns its way into your ears, before developing into a controlled explosion of noise and melody. It's truly stunning, and shows exactly why Post War Glamour Girls are worth paying attention to.

If "Divine Decline" wasn't on the album, it would still be a good album. But it's the song that pushes Swan Songs out in front of its competitors.

Release: Hide & Seek Records, 21st April 2017

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