A Playful Collection of American Vignettes
Multi-instrumentalist trio and recent Portland transplants, Post Moves, fall under the ever-expanding and increasingly colorful umbrella of Americana. Comprised of vocalist/guitarist Sam Wenc, bassist Nathaniel Kornet and drummer Julian Morris, the band embrace a more West Coast sound for Boogie Nights at the Edge of Town; it’s eight tracks of lazy beach rock spiked with experimental country. The songs wistfully detail the lives of various travelers, weaving in and out of abstractions and existential queries as they go.
The opening track, “The Cavern,” features a metaphorical hole that feeds on “our hearts falling out of our chests.” Despite the shimmering instrumentals and Wenc’s quirky vocal style, the album takes on a foreboding tone almost immediately. “Last Gasp” sounds cheerful despite lines like, “We’re all just trying to hide our guts from the ever-shifting eyes.” The appropriately titled “Mick’s Surf Shop” kicks up the surf rock swagger a few notches.
What sets Post Moves apart is the harmonious pairing of synth and lap steel — the traditional tool of Americana meets a seemingly out-of-place fixture of ’80s pop. The marriage of the two is something wholly unique and hypnotic, conjuring something of a country dreamscape. For three tracks, Post Moves drop the vocals entirely in favor of mesmerizing, eclectic instrumental arrangements. Ambient noises are layered in as well; the chirp of grasshoppers on the final song, “Boogie Down,” gives one the visceral feeling of a sweltering, rural day. Wind chimes clang intermittently and the rustle of birds’ wings can be heard. It’s a surreal and immersive sonic landscape that may be one of the album’s most intriguing tracks.
Boogie Nights at the Edge of Town, at its core, is a playful, intimate collection of American vignettes. From surfers to grifters to a chorus of insects, the album is both replete with detail and open to interpretation. Expect to come out on the other side with more questions than answers— one of those questions being, what’s next?