Album Review: International Breeze by Postal Blue (2004) (Shelflife Records)

Postal BlueTwee pop fans love this album. Adorned in polka-dot cardigans, anxiously slicking strands of hair  behind their ears, they contemplate the beautiful melancholy whilst mentally apologizing for having the temerity to tag it as twee in various on-line review sites.

This need for ‘twee ownership’ has probably seen numerous tracks being recorded to cassette mix tapes (a tweester format of choice) before being posted to the love interest who lives in the next street, who will call the sender ‘cute’ assigning them strictly to the ‘friend zone’, as they wonder what this ‘cassette thing’ is?!

However, their is a twee flirtation, it never actually crosses that cardigan line for a couple of reasons. Initially this Brazilian four-piece, led by front man Adrian Ribeiro, have a superb foundation of twanged electric and acoustic guitars (probably best seen in a tracks such as Weather Sensitive and Fine, below) that are jangled together with such musicianship that it is sometimes difficult to decipher what instrument is producing what sound as it all juxtaposes to engender a muted background bossanova feel. It is infinitely too impressive for all things twee.

Secondly twee is escaped by the sheer quirkiness of Ribeiro’s vocals that languidly flop around equidistant between all things Bee Gees and Barry Gibb and the vocal inflections of Morrissey. Ultimately twee vocals should emanate from shy apologetic eunuch types singing Queens English directly from the more affluent parts of Britain. The vocal delivery here though is way too committed, imperfect and endearingly strange to even consider placing so much as toe in the twee camp.

The main criticism of the album would possibly be that it is more committed to creating a mood of pretty melancholy rather that getting the same message across with the strength of the actual tracks. With the exception of the two openers and Weather Sensitive (see below) which are strong pop and the only ones that I could remember any lyrics or choruses to after repeated listens, the remainder of the tracks start at certain place but never really get reach a conclusion until the end of the album. They just contribute to the overall pleasant melancholy that is the main offering of the entire album.

However, if an album is going to be a mood piece it needs to be expressed with such expertise that the listener remembers exactly where to turn when a particular moods surfaces in their life and in this respect it is hard to think of a better album to turn to when your that little bit down and want to wallow in it for an hour or so without the need to be cheered up.

Finally the entire discography of the band is available at Bandcamp right now (see link below) for just $7.20 USD…consisting of both albums, 4 EP’s and a single. If this album is anything of a guide it is hard to think of many better musical bargains right now.

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