On its self-titled debut album, The Postelles captured the unbridled enthusiasm of falling into the arms of love.
Now, two years wiser and with heartbreak in tow, the New York foursome again dips into a bevy of pop staples—happy-go-lucky choruses, shimmering guitar melodies, and boundless harmonies—to guide its sophomore release, …And It Shook Me.
It’s a record meant for summer listening; every song is a catchy and up-tempo affair fronted by singer Daniel Balk’s effervescent vocals. The album’s highlight, “Sweet Water,” leaves a charming aftertaste. “Heavy Eyes” is a sunny ditty chaperoned by bouncy guitars, and “Waiting By Your Window” succeeds with its charming, whistle-worthy melody.
Beneath the jovial major chords lies the bittersweet realization that love can suck. Just ask Balk, whose reflective lyrics offer simple commentary on rocky relationships and the messiness that comes after a split. “’Cause I won’t go if you won’t go/and I won’t ebb if you don’t flow,” Balk sings on “Sweet Water.” Okay, so he’s not Michael Stipe, but Balk is still a young songwriter projecting from a limited point of view.
There’s no question The Postelles craft melodies with scrupulous affection, but they’re like a pitcher who constantly relies on a fastball to throw strikes. The band writes songs with predictable simplicity and tiresome, showy guitar riffs.
But you could say the same thing about The Strokes, whose imprints are all over …And It Shook Me. Guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. co-produced The Postelles’ first album with the same stripped down, melodic garage-rock mentality The Strokes fostered on Is This It?
The Postelles throw a changeup and veer slightly from its go-to formula with the restrained support of a synthesizer on the early Strokes-influenced “Parallel Love.” Balk sings, “Many days we laid around/filled up the lost and found with hopeless feelings.”
…And It Shook Me also profits from the vocal interplay between Balk and guest Alex Winston. On “Running Red Lights,” Winston’s sassy voice props up Balk’s bubbling accounts of self-woe. The track would sound at home in any small, hometown pub.
The pair really shines when dissecting romantic mistakes on “Pretend It’s Love.” It’s a treat to hear the duo riff off each other on the refrain, “Run away from it all/because we lost it all,” as pianos and bouncy guitars swirl around them.
That’s one of the few highlights for a band whose power pop convictions are as light and measured as a summer breeze.
The Postelles –…And It Shook Me tracklist:
- “…And It Shook Me”
- “Pretend It’s Love (feat. Alex Winston)”
- “Sweet Water”
- “You Got Me Beat”
- “Heavy Eyes”
- “Oh My Luck”
- “Caught By Surprise”
- “Parallel Love”
- “Waiting By Your Window”
- “Running Red Lights”
- “Tidal Wave”
- “You Know I Won’t”