The doomy, gothy sound of Berlin – from Leamington Spa
Few phrases can strike as much fear into the heart of a gentle soul as ‘electronic prog’. Very recent history is littered with the corpses of well-meaning bands who, for an idea, have jumped feet-first into digitalism, labouring under the illusion that the synthesizer is somehow, in and of itself, simply more interesting than the guitar. Seriously, why do people do this? Nobody seems to realise that fusing the two well is the hardest thing of all to do in music. It’s as if the new rave fiasco never happened, and here is another band talking this up as their big new idea.
Yet despite screaming that cautionary curse-phrase on their pre-publicity, Leamington Spa’s Post War Years make a better stab at it than most on the latest pit-stop in their long march towards reinvention. For a start they’ve spent time in Berlin rather than simply making a stab at sounding like what going to Berlin might sound like, and because they had some darkness in them already, it shows them in a better light. The title track marries Speak And Spell electronics with doomy goth feedback and comes off like a disco Horrors. At the other end of the scale, ‘Pigeons’ is a fragile, eerie and droney delight. Things get gnarly in the middle, with ‘Boing’ and ‘Ghosts’ employing a scattergun approach and sounding like very little at all. There’s still no clear evidence that this band will make any sense come the second album. But unlike so many would-be pioneers, they manage to maintain an idea of who they are, rather than simply what they might like to be. And that’s enough to mean they can stay for now.