“Dumbfounded/downtrodden and dejected/crestfallen/grief stricken and exhausted/trapped in my room while my house was burning to the motherfucking ground!” It’s no surprise Jeff Rosenstock’s third LP ‘POST-’ was written just days after Donald Trump’s 2017 Inauguration and it’s those frustrated yet impassioned lyrics that kick off the Long Islander’s new album in a swell of gnarled punk ‘n’ roll. Jeff Rosenstock manages to take the disillusionment found in nowadays politics and the tremors that effect society around it, and turns it into a defiant, triumphant ode to the disenfranchised. It’s as if our protagonist is saying “yeah, we’re all a bit fucked but we’re in this together”. This message is rammed home during ‘POST-’s final track ‘Let Them Win’, a clenched fist in the air to those that “hang us out to dry” whilst “they profit from their lies” but it’s with the big chested “we’re not going to let them win” do we get a heady rush of rebelliousness and steely ‘not on my fucking watch’ when it comes to social injustice and crooked decision makers.
‘POST-’ will be seen as a political record and rightfully so, but Rosenstock’s message can be translated to more personal matters; the likes of ‘Yr Throat’ and ‘Powerlessness’ rage with a fire burning against those in charge but if you turn Rosenstock’s words inward, lines like “what’s the point of having a voice if it gets stuck inside your throat” and “how can you solve all the problems around you when you can’t even stop the words in your head” can be attributed to dealing with day to day pressures. ‘TV Stars’ burrows into the notion of celebrity culture and its vacuous nature “TV stars/don’t care about who you are”, a simple statement about false idol worship.
Sonically ‘POST-’ is rough ‘n’ ready punk record run through the same filter that powers The Boss himself and fellow punk ‘n’ rollers The Gaslight Anthem – although Rosenstock ups the ante opting for a colossal sound akin to taking a punk show designed for Wembley Stadium but squishing it into a friend’s grotty basement.
‘POST-’ is a record to turn to in these uncertain times; an anthem to yell from the roof tops and another anthem that Donald Trump probably won’t know the words to either.
Thoughts and Words by Adam Williams