By Lily Keenan
VANCOUVER — The ‘post’ prefix is getting a lot of mileage in music journalism these days. Post-pop, post-punk, post-rock, seemingly, a band has to be post something in order to be anything at all. But to be in the ‘post’ camp surely means that you simply draw on techniques of a bygone era to inform to a certain style and sound. And who doesn’t really? Appropriation is, after all, the mother of originality.
Grant Minor of Vancouver post-punk/pop band Boyfriends and Girlfriends explains the way ‘post’ bands fit into the mosaic of modern musical genres, arguing that the difference is in the accessibility of a band. “We take the aesthetics and artistry of punk, and then create something more artful, more melodic and more assessable than just banging away at chords. I think that’s the idea. Post punk can still be aggressive but it’s a freer sound,” says Minor.
Listening to G&B’s debut full-length LP Our Garden, there can be no doubt that the band’s style draws on a range of eras. There are the unmistakably Morrisey-esque vocals of Minor, interwoven with synth hooks that reminisce of a time when Robert Smith danced around in a black suit and smudged makeup. Guitarist Peter Panovic lays down thick rock licks that give the otherwise upbeat album more grungy undertones. There’s urgency to Our Garden, driven by fast drums, complex bass and chanting lyrics that really do feel like the head-nodding punk anthems that would’ve been bashed out in some basement in the ’80s.
Minor is right though, there’s more to Our Garden than chord crunching riffs. Tracks like ‘Hope was in the Way’ and ‘Heart’s Undone’ take the record in a more melodic and wistful direction that wouldn’t be out of place on a pre-millennial U2 catalogue. It’s an aesthetic reflected by the visual style of G&B, whose deadpan, black and white leather-clad look complements this ‘performance’ of a different decade. “We want to be a bit entertaining, and give people a little bit of that fantasy in the way that we carry ourselves. And so I think we’re all wearing a bit of a character when we perform.”
This emphasis on throwback aesthetics is a strong element of Our Garden, which was released on a standard 12-inch vinyl. “We tried to make it a jacket and record similar to one you would go bin diving for 80 cents,” says Minor. “We wanted the person picking up the record to wonder exactly what era it was from.” Our Garden is a face-paced, pastiche of numerous musical genres and influences. It could indeed be era-less, but maybe that’s exactly what ‘post’ is all about.
Our Garden will be available as a 12” and digital download via POP Era Records. Girlfriends and Boyfriends launch the album at the Astoria on November 20th, supported by Shadowhouse and Wire Spine.Astoria, BC, British Columbia, Girlfriends and Boyfriends, Our Garden