Jeff Rosenstock’s latest effort, POST-, is a continuation of his career of pushing the envelop of what falls under the umbrella of punk rock. What was traditionally a genre that didn’t allow for more than two guitars, a bass, a drum set and vocals has now become as instrumentally inclusive as any genre.
But the former half of an early track, “USA”, shows that that inclusivity isn’t as deliberate as it is just another tool in Rosenstock’s shed. “USA” starts with Rosenstock’s vocal and exclusively down strums on an electric guitar before a drum fill introduces the rest of the band. The song is self aware in its punk rock intentions; in the first verse Rosenstock plays on a classic line from the Clash, singing “I saw the sign but it was misleading/I fought the law but the law was cheating”.
“TV Stars” is the most laid back track on the album. The song’s harmony is primarily carried by keyboards, and Rosenstock takes the inaugural lines to excuse his playing. “I can’t play piano all that well/Like, I’m fine/I can get away with it” he sings. The song is a crossroads of a failing relationship, personal insecurities and frustrations with media.
Rosenstock shows off his versatility on “9/10” and the 11-minute closer, “Let Them Win”. The melody and beat of the former song could pass as some new wave, electric reggae, but it’s also layered in synths and piano. “Let Them Win” starts as a punk song, experiments in the middle as a folk track and its five-minute conclusion is only droning synths.
POST- is a hit or miss record. The best songs are immediately likable. However, tracks like “Yr Throat”, “Melba” and “Beating My Head Against A Wall” are largely forgettable. He didn’t attempt anything far different from his past discography, but he has his formula and it works more often than not.