The boy-band craze might be akin to a viral strain that has gone temporarily dormant, but its squeaky-clean, creatively anesthetized spirit lives on in the likes of bands like the Postelles, whose blatant recycling of an early-‘00s era NYC garage sound is cross-bred with ‘60s pop and scrubbed clean of any trace of risk. In this respect, the Postelles and their self-titled debut have many of the earmarks of the continuous waves of dreary Brit bands which have reverberated in the wake of that revival sound, predicated on a needly guitar tone and thinly sliced injections of wit.
But the band wears their New York City heritage proudly, announcing it in several songs (including one called “123 Stop”), declarations that read as bland stabs at local cred. Further, the Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr. produces four of these tracks, and while that band’s stamp certainly appears on most of these songs, they’re toothless enough to make the Strokes sound menacing by comparison. This is garage rock crafted in a specially constructed garage, carefully primped and de-fuzzed, then slathered in a coat of honey.
At their best, the Postelles sound recalls Elvis Costello, only poppier and sans drollness; at its worst, it’s grown-up pop-punk with a weak handle on irony. In kinder terms, the Postelles are roughly comparable to a male version of the Pipettes, presenting a forceful reimagining of past styles that never really gets the essence of those styles, instead settling for a kind of half-assed salvaging glued together with a sugary pop adhesive.