Like a layer cake for a wedding or a wake, all one-flavor but intricate by bake and exquisite in decorative detail, Jeff Rosenstock’s dirty little sing-a-long angsty rock album is built to last and designed to impress. As Paul Hollywood would argue, it’s got a “sturdy bottom”: Rosenstock’s brand of rock is practiced and confident. Even the forays into experimentation fit like puzzle pieces in the album’s composition. Post- (released back in January) is a really good one.
There is a joy in the sound from the opening lines of “USA” (“Dumbfounded, downtrodden and dejected / Crestfallen, grief-stricken and exhausted / Trapped in my room while the house was burnin’ / To the motherfuckin’ ground”) the beats are infectious, the melody flows and there’s depth to the pop-rock. 7 minutes on the first song from bouncy pop to a Weezer-ish “Only in Dreams” build up and crescendo forces you to consider the album a little more deeply. Back to the half-baked metaphor: Jeff Rosenstock has cooked-up something delicious.
An unintended consequence of Trump’s presidency was the boon it was to political critique in pop-culture. Rosenstock repaired to the remote Catskills to reflect on the USA, protests, agency, and purpose as he wrote the album. The writing emerged characteristic of his thematic tones since 2012s I Look Like Shit with many of the conclusions from his revery being pessimistic and perhaps a bit depressed. But that goddamn danceability of “Powerlessness” or “Yr Throat” let us know that we’ll be alright.
I’ve got some research to do into Jeff Rosenstock’s back catalogue as I’ve just discovered him. I found myself having as much fun as I had with Celebration Rock or early Strokes and Veni Vidi Viscious. But unlike those early albums, the knowledge of his game (about 8 years in) lets him go slow and write some good heartache in “TV Stars” and “9/10”.
Like Mary Berry would say about a perfect pinafore, “Scrummy.” The ingredients and the cook of this album are approaching perfect and a solid album of 2018 has been discovered (albeit, 7 months after it was released and mentioned in Bo’s New Music Friday).