In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of their seminal album, Give Up, The Postal Service reunited last year for a tour to coincide with Sub Pop’s expanded, deluxe edition of the album. On November 24, Sub Pop will be releasing on DVD and Blu-ray a concert documentary called Everything Will Change, which draws from two nights of performances at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, California.
Along with scattered interviews with band members Ben Gibbard, Jimmy Tamborello and Jenny Lewis (multi-instrumentalist Laura Burhenn is given little screen time), and some testimonials of die-hard fans attending the shows, Everything Will Change dutifully captures the rare experience of a Postal Service show. As Gibbard explains during one of his interviews–most of which inexplicably take place while dribbling and shooting baskets, as if at any moment he could attribute his musical success to his cross trainers–by the time Give Up had attracted the ears of legions of fans, The Postal Service, as a band, was no more, and stayed that way for ten years. And if you didn’t attend any of the reunion tour, you are likewise out of luck. The difference this time around is that there was a film crew to capture the band’s chemistry, which on screen still manages to be infectiously palpable.
Featuring fifteen songs (including a cover of Beat Happening’s “Our Secret”), Everything Will Change runs the gamut of The Postal Service’s short inventory. While keeping a sense of the live setting, audience noise is thankfully at a minimum, and the clicks and bleeps of Tamborello’s rhythmic nuances come through as crisply as the original recordings, probably taken directly from the soundboard at the show. It gives the audio a strange combination of live and canned noise, which to some ears might seem jarring or disingenuous to a true “live” sound, but the signature dry electronica would undoubtedly sound odd were it diluted by venue noise, which would be a shame. During a brief tour of his gear, Tamborello describes the difficulty of tracking down the samples and beats, much of which he had to reintegrate for the tour from scratch.
What’s strange about The Postal Service is that it was always seen by its members as just a fun side project of three very busy musicians, and though their love of the music is visible (Lewis tears up more than once in the film), it will always be a side project that had an unexpectedly broad, almost viral appeal that came on after its demise which, not unlike Neutral Milk Hotel, eventually brought its small collection of songs into the Urban Outfitters sub-mainstream vinyl section. A week after the shows at the Greek, they played their final show before permanently disbanding. In the film, none of the members expressed any desire to play as a band again, but never provided a concrete reason either. From an outsider perspective, it is hard to imagine walking away from something that is arguably greater than the sum of its parts. Whatever the reason, it only makes Everything Will Change that much more essential.
he District Sleeps Alone Tonight
We Will Become Silhouettes
Be Still My Heart
Our Secret (Beat Happening cover)
This Place Is a Prison
A Tattered Line of String
Such Great Heights
(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan
Brand New Colony