The Postman Syndrome

The Postman Syndrome

The Postman Syndrome


Now Or Never

It’s only once in a long, long while that you come across something that is truly original, something that breaks from the mold and makes you think about it a little bit, before you smile, scratch your balding, sun burnt head and say, “gee, wow!” Like faux-barracuda gill lawn ornaments or mind control devices shaped like air fresheners, The Postman Syndrome deserves a place on your holiday wish list this season.

Terraforming, their first and only recording for Now Or Never Records, has garnered comparisons to everything from Tool to Pink Floyd to The Dillinger Escape Plan and back again. If this doesn’t already sound confusing enough, just wait until you hear it. There are strong elements of progressive and classic hard rock, but also several nods to the burgeoning post-hardcore and metalcore scenes, with dashes of emo and jazzy interludes tossed in for, what else, good measure. The sound on one track could be described as a 1970s arena-rock take on metalcore, and then suddenly it’s the prog-rock of Pink Floyd fronted by Mike Patton’s crooning vocals. On the next number, it’s time for the sort of emo-tinged Rush homage that you’d expect to find on a Coheed and Cambria album (sans the nut-clenching yelps, of course). The band switches things up and quickly veers off into chaos with all the recklessness of System of a Down or perhaps a more subtle version of Mr. Bungle, only to snap back like an overexerted rubber band, the madness seamlessly melting into a ridiculously accessible chorus.

The Postman Syndrome’s vocalist could easily be clumped into the Maynard James Keenan sound-alike camp at first listen, but given a little more time, you’ll often find yourself likening it to SOAD’s Serj Tankian and the ever-versatile Mike Patton. Four out of the five band members sing, and the bi-product of this is some fantastic overlapping vocal bits and exchanges. The lyrics are intelligent and often humorous, abutting the music nicely but never stealing the show. The songs themselves are presented in “chapters.” Many chapters have two parts, yet they manage to retain their own unique flair and never run together more than they should. The musicianship throughout is truly top-notch, and the sound is routinely kept in check by an almost tribal rhythm section and a few underlying atmospheric currents that all seem to feed from the same well. Meaning that although it’s a bit scatterbrained, TPS is never too fractured to be listenable.

The only thing stranger than the juxtaposition of all these diverse sounds is how well it works. Admittedly, it’s a bit of an odd experience the first time through. But if it’s nothing else, Terraforming is an album that will grow on you quickly, and with the relentlessness of an infectious disease. The Postman Syndrome is the sort of unique band that could tour with anyone from Mr. Bungle to Candiria, or maybe even Pink Floyd on their next cross-country jaunt, for that matter. Their uniqueness extends beyond their range of influences, and the wall of sound they create is truly colossal, the musicianship is tight and invigorating at every turn. Tracks like the full-frontal assault of “Amputees Make Bad Swimmers” show off the power that is being cultivated here. However, it’s numbers like the sprawling, dizzying “Unfamiliar Ceiling” that really define the band and lend a single word with which to describe their debut: Epic.

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