Release Date: Jan 2, 2018
Record label: Polyvinyl
The anonymity of POST-’s title seems to serve the same purpose as Sorority Noise’s record You’re Not As ___ As You Think; a polite invitation that the listener apply themselves, evoking that trite but useful cliché of a blank canvas. Post what? Post-Trump? After the politically (and aging) sensitive existential crises of Jeff Rosenstock’s previous record, post-WQRRY.? Post-everything? Or post-nothing? Unlike most other music which asserts itself as political POST- contrives no attempt at answers – neither to its title or our political upheaval – but is instead content in anxious diarising. No diagnoses or prescriptions, just personal laments, and the album’s all the richer for it..
On New Year’s Eve, everyone on Earth, it seemed, kicked 2017 unceremoniously to the curb, offering good riddance and hopes for a better 2018. And by the evening of Jan. 2, we were all stressed from fear of global nuclear annihilation after another reckless tweet from the President of the United States. But that day in between? It was pretty good! Time off work (for many). A great football game on TV.
Many artists spent the past year trying to make sense of our toxic sociopolitical landscape, but few did a better job than a guy whose album dropped several weeks before the 2016 presidential election. The results of November 8 may have hit like an isolated, cataclysmic incident, but it increasingly appears to be the logical endpoint of the American experiment, caused by and resulting in economic and cultural panic which Jeff Rosenstock.
Recorded in eight days and released with little fanfare in digital form just a few weeks later on January 1, 2018, Post- is the third nervy missive from Long Island native, Jeff Rosenstock. First as the frontman for ska-punk outfit Bomb the Music Industry!, then as a solo artist, Rosenstock has poured the messy contents of his soul into unapologetically raucous, frequently ramshackle, and increasingly relatable D.I.Y. rock music.
Last year I saw Jeff Rosenstock in a small venue as part of his UK tour. It was a night of visceral sing-a-song longs and emotional out pouring. As everyone left the venue I over-heard some fans talking about the future. 'Jeff's next album will be his best'. 'Yeah, make or break mate, make or break ….
The unexpected notoriety and recognition achieved with his 2016 record Worry lead to him becoming music's favourite punk icon, straddling depression and self-deprecation with a passion and sense of tomfoolery that made him both endeared and respected. The election of 2016 however proved too much for Rosenstock, forcing him into a period of writing riddled with insecurities and serious doubts relating to his home nation's state of affairs. Announced at a New Year's Eve show in 2017, POST- is at times partially reminiscent of another certain pop-punk record not only in its damning commentary on contemporary affairs in the USA, but also the way in which it's bookended by two dense, lengthy entries, ''USA'' and ''Let Them Win''.
Jeff Rosenstock opens “POST-” (Polyvinyl) with a brief spoken-word introduction followed by a seven-minute multipart track that howls and staggers, a punk-prog manifesto that smashes together big guitar chords, cowbell-driven rhythms, Queen-like choirs, black humor and raging declarations that put a twist on the Bobby Fuller Four-via-the Clash (“I fought the law, but the law was cheating”). “You promised us the stars,” the choir declares, only to be answered by a weary acknowledgment that “now we’re tired and bored. ” Rosenstock titles the track “USA,” the first shot in his album-long state of the disunion message.