Post War Years are supporting Mumford & Sons on their December tour, which is a strange match-up. It's far from clear how fans of the latter will respond to Post War Years' subtle, attention-demanding electronic pop, or how well that sound will translate to large venues. The Bell is not an especially immediate or brash EP; there are no killer choruses, and nothing that could serve as the basis for a communal singsong. Still, it's an interesting and mostly accomplished release, and that might be enough to help the band win over a large audience.
This is clearly a group who are interested in texture and atmosphere. The four tracks which together comprise the EP unspool slowly and carefully, not a note out of place. When the band are trying to write a killer pop song - as is the case with the title track - this is something of a problem. There's too much precision, and not enough exuberance, with the competent but uncharismatic vocals not helping matters. When they're aiming for a more contemplative mood, as on 'Pigeon', things improve. Synths creep and creak; space opens up between beats; vocalist Henry Rigg, no longer obliged to play the role of rabble-rouser, is a note-perfect cog in the machine. The song draws you, inch by inch, into the band's sonic world.
The two remaining tracks, 'Boing' and 'Ghost', are competent mid-tempo indie-dance numbers. Initially restrained and precise, they both build a little momentum as they progress. Neither track is revelatory, but there's something impressive about the precision with which they have been constructed, the subtle forward motion, the little electronic squiggles and flourishes.
If you're not in the right mood, or if you're not paying enough attention, there's a danger that the EP will just drift past, leaving little impression behind. That's why it difficult to see it playing well to a large audience with no particular interest in the band on their forthcoming tour. Lend Post War Years your ear, though, focus on them fully, and you'll find the experience largely enjoyable.
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