I’m not sure whether I’m having a hard time talking about Postcards because it left me speechless, or because it’s all been said before. Unfortunately, the truth is probably a muddled distinction that exists between the two. With all the progression post-hardcore has seen from the The Wave, it’d be a shame to see it end with such a small handful of bands, but I can’t help but wonder if this is where The Wave dies.
Now that the core originators have been named, analyzed, and defined, the time for excitement is over. We can remember what it was like to watch those new bands sprout up, seemingly independent of each other, tapping into the same vein with different sizes of needles. But the first wave is over, and from here on out is the less bombastic, less diverse future.
Before I go on with my lament, I want to make it clear: Postcards is a great album, and within it lies a future for Gatherer. Nonetheless, it begs to be seen for what it is, and digested accordingly. This is the time for polish and nuance, not leaps and bounds.
“Wedding Bells” opens the EP with a screaming voice urging us to “wake up and smell the disappointments.” It sounds like some of Defeater’s best work, but the song’s short length hearkens back to Touche Amore. As first track’s go, it’s fantastic. Loud, fast, attention grabbing; everything an opening should be.
Next up,the title track introduces itself with an intertwining of staccato rhythm guitar and a meandering melodic lead. Juxtaposed with the screamed vocals the song strikes a balance of heart-racing and mellow. But at a minute thirty-seven second run time, it finishes a little too soon.
“Jones Beach” is a more hardcore track that sports another great lyrical opening, “pulled an allnighter with the good old boys, with a turn of the key we took over the world.” Words like that work so well because they manage to mythologize a common experience, lending them an epic sense of majesty and dare I say, magic.
The final song, “Brittle Bones,” opens with some hectic drumming and strumming before clearing out for relatively unaccompanied vocals. The repeated refrain of “I have a sense of self,” suggest a strength at odds with the song title, making the lyrics all the more interesting to dissect.
Postcards is a great EP that suffers by comparison. But music isn’t always about being first, and Gatherer prove that they can take an established sound and play it well with passion, meaning, and everything else we should expect our music to come with. The Wave may be dead, but I’m excited to hear the music of its torch bearers.