Baltimore quartet Post Pink treat post-punk like a rag doll. They push it, stretch it, crash into it, toss it around the room. On the band’s new eight-song LP I Believe You, OK, released last week on Washington, DC’s Sister Polygon Records, each track confronts daily despair with sneer and scowls – or a jab to the throat. I Believe You, OK is a raw, nervous, angry record. Sonically, the band peddles in stark brevity. The album is over in a flash; the songs only crest the two-minute market by apparent accident, the feedback left to ring a moment too long. For 13-or-so minutes, Post Pink bombards the listener with no-wave simplicity overcome with reactionary punk mayhem.
David Van McAleer’s rollicking, righteous guitar lines are laced through every track, a tremor driving an already anxious album. Even when the guitar devolves into a distorted churn – and indeed, at points the record wades into heaviness before quickly retreating – I Believe You, OK is propelled forward by bassist Emily Ferrara and drummer Sam Whitelaw’s hip-twisting and hair-shaking grooves. Perhaps the best and only analgesic for life’s dumb and perpetual microaggressions, the band suggests, is just to fucking dance.
So much of the record feels like someone yanking back their shirt from some monster’s thirsty grip. Singer Angela Swiecicki sounds deeply over it – sick of being pushed, catcalled, objectified. “I don’t remember how I used to think, I just thought it would be ok,” Swiecicki sings on “High,” the album’s opening track. “So many ways to let you down, but there’s a million others just like me.” But there are no regrets found here – just power: Don’t you dare try to push me from the pedestal you put me on, the chanting chorus demands. Later on the record, the band spits at the expectations of appearances and behavior. “Why can’t I see, you’re killing me?” Swiecicki asks at the end of “Icky Arnold”, a song about putting on airs, but for what? To fulfill someone’s expectations? That’s all a trap.
Perhaps Swiecicki makes some attempt to walk in the shoes of those real-life monsters – the xenophobes determined to rid the country of immigrants, the chauvinists licking their chops at a nice pair of tits. “Big hips, thin waist, luscious lips, masturbate!” Swiecicki sings on “(S)hit,” maybe trying to see the world through some predatory pair of eyes, if only for a moment. But all of that role playing is just a vehicle for Post Pink’s snarling message: that the world is replete with all variety of fetid bullshit worthy of the flames. And if it’s going to burn, let’s make sure those flames are mighty high.
**photos by Megan Lloyd