Post Moves

REVIEW: Post Moves - Boogie Night at the Edge of Town

Kelly Kirwan

Post Moves have a built a genre as you would a house of mirrors, with reflections stacked endlessly atop one another in an off-kilter maze, each element distorted into an uncanny counterpart. The Portland-based trio have described their sound as being in somewhat of an identity crisis by conventional standards—"What the hell is Americana, anyway?" they ask in their press release. Post Moves' style is a hybrid of experimental pop-rock, funk, and country that falls into the realm of “weirdo indie” (as they’ve coined it). Following their 2016 release, Mystery World Science Show, the three-man band has returned with Boogie Night at the Edge of Town, a title that feels like it's been drawn from a shelf of dusty '70s cult-film classics.

The album explores the human condition in a roundabout way, their lyrics poetic and often inclined towards philosophical musing. The opening track, "The Cavern," is filled with funk and vocals that feel like a smoothed-over stream of consciousness. The first verse is slightly rushed, as if the ideas were overflowing and had to spill out into the ether. The melody offsets any sense of apprehension that may come with ruminating on our life’s purpose, and it’s an easy groove to get into. The song takes a languid stretch in the center, asking wistfully, “What is our nature? / We fade more each time.”

The album features a little reprise at its halfway point with a roughly one-minute stretch of calming instrumentals titled, "With You, On Big Leaf Mountain." It’s a rich, gleaming melody, one that elicits feelings of contentment, its only vocals a background of ethereal, meditative ahs. The song seeps seamlessly into the delicate introduction of the following track, "Last Gasp," as a subtle melody emphasizes the opening line, “It won’t take long / I’ll clock it til it’s gone / The speed of light has never known the liking of this one.” Then we’re jolted into the next line, which hits like an exclamation point: “SO FAST, SO QUICK!” The four words leap with a bold-type intensity, evoking comparisons to spoken word. It a motif you hear throughout "Last Gasp," a song that revels in idiosyncratic flair.

Boogie Night at the Edge of Town lives up to its name. It’s a curious, foot-tapping compilation of songs that exists on the outskirts of any easily recognizable genre—or, as the band might say, “Post Moves make Americana about an America that makes no sense; pastoral, shambling and strange.” And yet, “strange” has never felt more accessible. Sometimes it's good to revel in a little oddity.

PREMIERE: Post Moves - Romantic Dimwits

Laura Kerry

I once visited Portland, Oregon, and it was a pretty chill place. I went to a vegan bar and ate an artisanal taco from a food cart among down-to-earth twenty-somethings. Everyone was carefree and calm; many were bearded.

This is the strange and wonderful land from which Post Moves, a project of Sam Wenc, hails, and the (admittedly reductive) characterization shows in their music. The band’s last album, Reset Father Time (2015), borrowed from the chillest of classic and indie rockers, Neil Young and Yo La Tengo, to create a dreamy collection of tunes for wandering quiet, wet streets in the early morning.

On Post Moves’ new track, “Romantic Dimwits,” Wenc returns with the same voice, which sounds so at ease that you imagine the microphone resting next to someone lounging in a screened-in porch or living room—an impression supported by production that is lo-fi and airy. There’s self-deprecating humor and talk of “booty shakers” and “my imposter vintage guitars.”

But “Romantic Dimwits” isn’t entirely the stuff of Portland stereotypes or the half-awake meditation of Post Moves’ last work. From the marching percussion on every beat to the wandering, clean guitar riffs, the whole song buzzes with a frenetic energy. Wenc’s voice and its melodic phrasings are filled with pauses and enjambments that mask the reason for all that nervous buzzing: In 13 short lines, “Romantic Dimwits” encompasses the raging tension between caring and not caring, hating to feel but fearing not feeling at all. The same voice that sings the words “booty shakers” sings the crushing line, “I look upon a field of iced-over dreams / Baby in this life I am thawing meat.” Far from the gentle image of its creators and the city they come from, it is a song that packs an existential punch.