Sunday, July 25, 2010
Postcards - Postcards (Fixture Records)
SCQ Rating: 80%
My first listen to Postcards occurred in a neighbourhood not far from mine, and that’s all I could really be sure of. A recent thaw had reduced the snow to loitering puddles as I walked a curbside that I might’ve mistaken for my street mere weeks earlier. Relishing the vague familiarity of these quiet backstreets that were so unlike my Toronto district, I caught a glimpse of a narrow path burrowed between two properties. At the risk of trespassing, I snuck down the beaten lane as Postcards’ opener ushered in and discovered an sprawling field of countless dandelions. If you haven’t heard the song ‘Because’, the timing at work behind this discovery will seem lifeless to you, but the track, titled as if a one-word retort, unbuttons its formalities with a moody guitar and echoed vocals. Lo-fi doesn’t prepare you for a song of this quiet magnitude.
After walking the field’s width to an abandoned bleacher, I settled under an early Spring sun and let ‘Gum’ wash over me like a sprinkler of mid 80s dream-pop. By the time ‘You Won’t Say’ and all its private disclosures fell heavily on my heart, I realized Postcards were operating on a very rewarding tactic of languid post-punk drumming, simple hooks and some cleverly morose vocals. Capping off this debut cassette’s first side with the cool comfort of ‘Debt’, Postcards elicit a vibe that rings true to American Analog Set’s dressed-down charms. And while Postcards’ second half ventures further into indie-rock’s slacker-jam history, a few cuts (the ode-to-surf ‘Ocean’, those annoying loops on ‘Always Busy’) run the risk of alienating their aforementioned highlights. Regardless of how well the Montreal-based outfit channels variety, they’ve certainly found their niche on the gently shambling ‘Sunshine’. Few records can maintain such a leisurely pace and richly melancholic perspective without becoming a drag but Postcards is too cozy to be depressing.