On their new album Post People, which is available now via Fysisk Format, Norway’s Heave Blood & Die sound almost nothing like their name might suggest, although the misdirection does fit somewhat into the subtly jarring nature of their actual sound at this point in their career.
On Post People, Heave Blood & Die perform a sort of shoegazey, repetitious post-rock that repeatedly launches into energetic rhythms that make the whole experience feel like floating along through some dream-like version of reality. There’s a bit of tension in the earnest forward movement of the sound, and some of the guitars — like on the album’s opening track, “Radio Silence” — also feel rather confrontational, but the sound is also somewhat smoothed over, and the actual tones of the music feel like expansive, atmospheric post-rock.
Fundamentally, Heave Blood & Die sound like they’re exploring a sort of psychedelically unmoored version of anxiety. They’ve musically ventured into that emotional space where anxiety mixes with longing and wonder, and within their immersive sound, there’s a sense of subtle possibility — but there’s also a definite cloud of tension.
Intriguingly, even though there’s definitely a lot of krautrock-like repetition on Post People, the music never feels particularly stable or still. Instead, the strong performances from the band deliver consistently rather uneasy rhythms, as if capturing a sort of metaphysical agitation. The tension and immersive sort of ambiance of the sound make for a striking combination.
After the windy, cacophonous rhythms of “Radio Silence,” Heave Blood & Die move into the suddenly gentler sound of “Kawanishi Aeroplane,” which features lightly distorted vocals that sound like they’re coming out of a train loudspeaker and help round out the post-punk energy in the sound. The upturned, driving energy that occasionally appears also contributes to this post-punk feeling. Across Post People, the dynamics shift — “True Believer” is rather bold and brash, while “Everything Is Now,” which comes up next, seems pointedly slow, and the music is always poignant.
According to press material, Heave Blood & Die operate from a sort of anti-capitalist framework. As the band have explained it elsewhere: “The have had is more dangerous than the never had. A new dawn is rising, and the possible outcome is terrifying.” These feelings seem quite effectively and poignantly reflected within the sound of Post People as the album swirls with a kind of subtly all-consuming psychedelic tension that also includes a sense of opportunity thanks to the open-ended breathability of the sound.
The brightness that appears within the world of Post People feels — fittingly — fleeting, like the album captures a moment on repeat of almost reaching solid ground before falling again. It’s like a simultaneous warning and guiding light, and the album feels rather entrancing.
Listen to Post People below!