New Zealand songwriter Aldous Harding’s sophomore album “Party” is punchier and even more haunting than her more folk-influenced debut.
The Woolen Men who recorded Post are not the same Woolen Men who recorded 2015’s standout Temporary Monuments. But given the Portland trio’s methodical and factory-like approach of constantly re-writing, re-recording and re-rehearsing material, perhaps it’s not so surprising that the band has managed to expand and hone all aspects of their songwriting and musicianship between releases.
Clocking in at just sub-35 minutes, one gets the idea that The Woolen Men left a lot of material on the cutting room floor during the craft and curation of Post’s nine air-tight tracks. Every song and guitar solo (several standout performances) sounds like it was played hundreds of times until it was distilled to its purest, most necessary parts.
Album opener and lead single, “Brick Horizons,” wastes no time in setting the emotional and lyrical themes of the record. You can hear the band racing against the clock as they muse about the dangers of looking back and standing still, as a driving rhythm section blossoms into a dreamy Peter Doherty-esque chorus that will have you wondering when you left the US for the UK.
The rest of the album is full of similar surprises as tracks take hairpin turns into unexpected sonic detours. Featuring an eclectic mix of inspirational sprawling yurt-jams (“Amateur”), stormy barn burners (“Weatherman for Sale”), and cutting observations of millennial apathy, by the time album closer “The Chip” unfolds into a soaring Route 66 outro, one gets the idea that the band doesn’t want to get caught standing still and are probably already racing towards the post Post horizon.