Post War Years
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Post War Years

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Alternative EDM

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Imagine our delight when we found Henry Riggs and Simon Critten from the band backstage at Sonar just after their set. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to have a chat with a band heading for the toppermost of the poppermost! - Clash


Name: Post War Years
Based in: London via Leamington Spa.
Members: Simon Critten (vocals, guitar), Henry Riggs (vocals, key, guitar), Thomas O'Hare (vocals, bass), Fredrick McLaren (drums).
Introduced by: Radio 1's Huw Stephens.
Sounds like: Off-kilter math rock with interchangable vocals and intricate harmonies.
Performances for BBC Introducing: Live set at Maida Vale studios, April 29th 2010 for BBC Introducing week on 6 Music. - BBC Radio 1


Cometh the hour, cometh the band; well, not quite, but with 2009 spuriously earmarked as the year of electro-friendly pop, the release of Post War Years' debut, The Great And The Happenings, is a well-placed one. The trouble is, despite its many great happenings, immediate accessibility isn’t one of them.

But with an album that combines fluid purpose with layers of abrasive imagination and favouring solitary intellect over tabloid whimsy, Post War Years cannot be accused of peddling electro-friendly pop; theirs is far more substantially selective.

There’s a danger when grooming your signature sound to fit the burgeoning impulses of a crossover audience; crossover in the wrong place and you risk burning almost as many bridges as you’ve built. That said, for those with enough patience to appreciate the mix of drum machine, effects peddles, keyboards and samples alongside the more traditional trappings of an erstwhile indie band, those bridges that remain offer pleasurable exclusivity.

Creating a self-styled breathing space built on evolutionary drum patterns, basslines and spurts of organ, 'The Red Room', 'Death March' and 'Whole World On Its Head' provide a deceptively staccato framework from which to proceed. Far too considered and concise to be an experimental fluke, the disjointed slabs of 'White Lies' and 'Red And Blue' alongside the over complication of 'Latin Holiday', 'Tubular' and 'That's All' don’t allow for structured second guesses, instant gratification or an overwhelming desire to admit at least some negligent listening on your part, despite the understated step-back brilliance of 'Den' and 'Soul Owl'.

But (and like most final paragraph buts it’s a big one) long after The Great And The Happenings has played out, been discarded, eBayed or used in protest as a disposable coaster, the album, songs, riffs, lyrics and sense of exploration float to surface consciousness from the deepest reaches of your cranium. And what you're left with is a niche body of work that exists far better on reflection where the words clunky, confused and esoteric are willingly exchanged for intricate, confident and innovative. - Daily Music Guide


Fresh from a world where Pears Cyclopaedias, symmetry and geometric shapes are still the new thang come Post War Years. More idiosyncratic than their moniker suggests, PWY have been ensconced in their east London ex-Russian warehouse/hairdressing salon (no, really) since forever, so it’s useful that ‘The Greats And The Happening’ greets us blinking like the jaded lights on an 808.

Yes, there are three vocalists on it, but all you need to know about that is that each of them (say hi to Henry, Simon and Tom) sound almost identical to each other, which is handy when you’re trying to peddle math/prog/synth rock where the real focus is on how splintery your guitar lines are and how effective your ‘pearl drop’ keyboard function is.

While it would be physically impossible to listen to this and not see images of Yannis Foals, Clor’s debut album or Barney Sumner circa ’83, there are also subtleties recalling Field Music and – cripes – even Wild Beasts. Do Post War Years know who those two bands are? Probably not, but the busyness in much of the melody trickling through ‘The Greats...’ resonates in the same inwardly camp and way-too-earnest way those bands do.

Only difference is that here, PWY toil the broth by emptying dose-upon-dose of dirty sucker-punch keys onto production nicked straight from ‘In Rainbows’. And that’s not all – ‘Red And Blue’, ‘Soul Owl’ and closer ‘That’s All’ prove that these boys love choruses as well as instruction manuals. “Got you in my sideline” they sing on the latter. And you should too have them in yours too, because ‘The Greats And The Happening’ proves Post War Years are worthy contenders. - The NME


There’s a myriad of subgenres to be drawn upon when musing over Post War Years’
debut album; moments of prog-pop, illbient, nu-rave, electroclash, R’n’Bleep (made that one up just now) all surrender to the quintet’s essential knack of making slick, sharp and interesting sounds. Deep synthesized beats buzz in your ears like bumblebees (‘Whole World On It’s Head’) whilst Lemon Jelly-styled sumptuousousness features on ‘Soul Owl’ and an irresistible Friendly Fires disco rapture crops up on ‘The Black Morning’, underpinned with potential for huge modern day dance anthems. Polite, intelligent and eclectic, Post War Years might wear their huge roster of influences on their sleeve, but they’re still some distance from reaching a timeless prominence. - The Fly


t is a brave group that opens with a number called "False Starts", but then this fresh-faced four-piece have proved their mettle by turning out on one of the quietest weeks of the gigging year – in a cold snap that has paralysed much of the nation.

While Post War Years appear to be sprinting from the blocks with some dash, this studious bunch are slowly and steadily building up a following for their synth-inflected math-pop. Last May, they sneaked out their debut album, The Great and the Happenings. Lacking the intensity on record of their closest antecedents Foals and the US outfit Battles, Post War Years have yet to make a similar impact.

From the start of tonight's set, though, they are able to grab our attention with charm and invention. Three of the band line themselves stage front: gangly Simon Critten, impish Henry Riggs and the awkward Tom O'Hare. Multi-instrumentalists all, the latter pair start with bass guitars – Riggs playing intricate top lines, while his bandmate anchors their elastic funk. Critten conjures up brass samples in some sly homage to soul power. For the set highlight, "Whole World on Its Head", his fingers tap out an abstract, beguiling, sci-fi motif.

Elsewhere, PWY seek to make more emotive impact. A paranoid undertow runs through much of their work, emerging on occasional full-blooded refrains. As in "White Lies": "It's not what you do that makes you tired, it's how you sleep at night," they accuse in unison. The group do moody, too, as they prove on the vaguely sinister "Soul Owl" that Riggs croons over a dubstep shuffle.

Palpably glowing with enthusiasm, the band clearly have a high old time, though not always to great effect. Even the memorable numbers can be best framed like Friends episodes – the one with the brass samples, the one with the birdsong, without making much more impact. Often, they concentrate too much on their own virtuosity to the detriment of the whole, most apparently when their vocals fail to gel.

Critten jokes that they are only playing tonight because they wanted to nail "Tubular", an album track they have only attempted once before live, unsuccessfully, but instead they close with "Black Morning", led by its pleasing piano house riff, another clever idea they need to flesh out. Post War Years could be on the cusp of turning into something quite special, but for now remain engaging company along the way. - The Independent


Discography

Black Morning - Chess Club 2008

Whole World On Its Head - Chess Club 2009

White Lies / Wishes - Wealth Recording Corporation 2009

The Greats And The Happenings(Album) - Wealth Recording Corporation 2009

All Eyes - Labour Of Love Records November 2011

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Bio

Post War Years are Henry Riggs, Simon Critten, Tom O'Hare, and Fred McLaren. The four met growing up in Leamington Spa, where they discovered a mutual love of music.

On stage, the band have an exhilarating presence. Henry, Simon, and Tom array themselves before the audience, confidently switching between guitars, basses, and synthesizers, and sharing vocal duties as each song demands. Driving it all is Fred's energetic and precise drumming, which arguably forms the core of the band's sound; providing them with a solid, but not static, foundation on which to stack their intricately woven arrangements.

Post War Years' first single from their upcoming second album is titled 'All Eyes' and is due for release in late November on Labour of Love Records.