The Postelles Learn How To Write The Perfect Love Song
Though The Postelles have grown up a bit since their self-titled debut introduced us to the latest in refreshingly buoyant pop-rock tendencies, the riffs, sunny breakdowns and overwhelmingly innocent and infectious quality of their music has remained the same. Like The Kooks and The Strokes before them--hell, Albert Hammond, Jr. produced their first record--The Postelles exploit the value of a simple song structure and occasionally biting lyrics, perfectly catering the crux of their live show to the effervescent combination of the two set to major chords and harmonies that wouldn't feel out of place on the radio in 1962. The youthful sonic escape they provide is best devoured after it's been bottled up, packaged and delivered to us over the course of a sweaty 30-minute set in a basement somewhere or while you're driving with the windows down--ageless settings that take you out of their native New York and back to the haunts of yesteryear, where possibilities are endless and each song soundtracked a pivotal moment you weren't aware of just yet.
The biggest departure for The Postelles with their sophomore effort lies not in these sonic traits but the stanzas themselves, because And It Shook Me consists of indisputable love songs We're still provided with 12 confectionary ballads, anthems and danceable ditties in 4/4 time, but every single measure recounts a moment of love lost, or found, or redefined--somebody clearly fell head over heels in the two years that were spent touring and tracking in between albums, or they got their heart broken something fierce. Or did they? Guitarist Dave Dargahi reflects on the band growing up, falling in love, writing it down and putting it all out there.
How has the definition of a love song changed for The Postelles? I think it's just about trying to be as honest as possible. I think you get to a certain point where you realize there's no point in writing about anything that's sugarcoated. It's almost like reservations about a situation are too revealing, but I think at a certain point as an artist, you just want to lay it all out there--maybe don't name names, but there's no reason not to. I think the first album was kind of like the puppy love you get in high school. We wrote a lot of that album when we were seniors in high school and reflecting back on that period. This is kind of what the past couple of years have been like, and I think the themes are a little bit more bittersweet about past relationships.
Is this your most revealing record as a result of that? I definitely think so. We're a young band. This is our second release. Looking back on our first album, it's almost, like, oh man, we were young! We're not old now, but we feel differently about it.
I'm sure your bonkers touring schedule for the past couple of years has played into that, too. Exactly. This record grew in a way that was completely different from the first one. The first one was like, okay, let's form a band and write songs for that band and this is how it's going to be. This one was a process that came from a year of sound-checking and jamming out on these songs in sound check, that's kind of like our favorite thing to do. Some bands don't like to work on the road, but we really do. We'll just play a song and sometimes we're tempted to play it live before we've even thought about recording it. I remember we were in LA and Dan (Balk, lyrics/vocals) got inspired by his first time there. I had been out there before, but he'd never been there, so we had this typical New Yorker Woody Allen attitude towards LA where we weren't supposed to like it. He was taken aback and kind of into the openness and the ocean, and so he got this idea for a song, "Tidal Wave," and we started to jam on it. Eventually it became a live staple of ours. If anyone had seen us in the past they've probably already heard us.
What's the biggest risk that you took on And It Shook Me? What did you roll the dice on? "Parallel Love" was one of the biggest departures for us, in that we added a synthesizer to it. We had this attitude with the first album, it was rock and roll--we hated how it was a genre of music that we felt was dying, and we wanted to capture two guitars, a bass and drums in a room and get that on a record. This time, we really spent a lot of time in the studio and were messing around with sounds. "Parallel Love" I think is the first track of ours that has synthesizers, just because we really felt it called for it. This little riff, I had an idea for it where I wanted it to be a string kind of sound, and obviously we thought the best way to do that would be with a synthesizer. It was kind of a risky song.
What would you say is the most romantic song on the record? Again, "Parallel Love"--when we thought about it, we thought it was interesting, this idea of having two kinds of loves for someone at the same time, both good and bad, and how they intertwined with each other where you might feel guilty for feeling a certain way about somebody or maybe even if it's just two different people at the same time, it can be interpreted in a different way. Lyrically, that song's a highlight for me.
Is all fair in love and war, according to The Postelles? I'd say so. Whether someone acts a terrible way because they're outside of themselves or maybe there are things that make certain people act one way, you have to take people for who they are, so it's all fair. I think that's the beauty of it.
What did And It Shook Me teach you? I think that this record, for us, is about us becoming comfortable with the band that we are and growing from that. The first album, we were discovering who we're possibly going to even be. This album, we found our sound and became the band we wanted to be. We were able to slowly click up the album exactly the way we wanted and take as much time as we want and get everything right. I think lyrically it's a different perspective on relationships than the first album had. I guess we're growing up.
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