Canadian trip-hop and psychedelic rock trio Post Death Soundtrack uses electronic, industrial, pop and rock sounds in their latest work, titled The Unlearning Curve, to create thought-provoking music. Kenneth Buck, Steve Moore, and Jon Ireson released at the end of May 2016 a nine-track collection that is a genre-twisting attempt to create an eclectic narrative about healing and venturing into the unknown.
There’s something truly psychedelic and hypnotic about all the compositions on The Unlearning Curve. None of them are easily classifiable and make for an experience rather than music one would play in the background. The band goes even further with their last three tracks which, taken as a trio rather than as three separate entities, seem to tell a story, that of an individual going though the gates of hell, dealing with the devil, and then overcoming him and entering a better place filled with white light. Unsurprisingly, the lyrics make it clear that this subset is a metaphor for going through a hellish situation in life that leaves one alone and bereft, and that one has to deal with their demons before getting to that better place.
“Through the Gates” opens with the sound of air moving through empty space, making it creepy from the get-go. Following the harsh sound of the heavy metal-inspired “Little Alice”—complete with throbbing rhythm, harsh vocals, and angry lyrics—one would expect the band’s interpretation of hell to be angry and aggressive. However, Post Death Soundtrack interprets it as an empty space filled with the ghosts of a distant, depressing past and a gloomy future. Similarly, “Dance with the Devil” is not an angry, rhythmic, pounding song but more of the same—soft, eerie, and melodic.
The threesome finishes off with “Transform in White Light”, another track that surprises us with its take on heaven this time. If one expected the two others to be angry and harsh, one would have expected this one to be calm and melodic in contrast. But the band chose to convey a crystalline sound within a rhythmic and throbbing song, which could be interpreted as a metaphor for how someone who survived going to hell and dealing with his or her demons would now throb with life.
These four tracks that close the album come a long way from the opening duo. “That Which” and “You Can’t Go Back” have something of a Pet Shop Boys feel. In the former, the mix of instruments and electronic sounds is put together in a way that is just shy of throbbing, which comes off as a bit of a tease. It is a number stripped at the beginning with layer upon layer being added, from various instruments to extra electronic sounds as well as backing vocals.
As for the latter, the longest offering of the set, it starts with only vocals, both main and backing, and touches of electronic sounds, setting a bit of a meditational, hypnotic mood. Combined with the right visuals, it could be either soothing or extremely creepy.
“Our Time Is Now” changes things up a little with the use of backing vocals that are distorted in such a way that one can’t help but think of unleashed, dangerous anger, an impression further enhanced with the harsh whispering the main vocals adopt near its end. “Beauty Eyes I Adore” starts with just vocals, the main ones melodic while backing ones repeat meditational-like “ha-s” that become a little irritatingly loud. The track has an erratic feel to it, with a fluctuating tempo, vocals ranging from soothing to insistent, and a melody embracing both the melodic and at other times, the rhythmic. The chugging guitar line in “Arrhythmia Dreaming”, combined with harsh, gritty vocals, make it quite the haunting number.
Post Death Soundtrack has come up with an interesting set that asks interesting questions of its listeners. Tracks are available for streaming on Bandcamp. More information about the band is available on their official website.