Aside from the uneven percentages of human frailty, animosity and mockery—be that of the self or of everyone else excluding the self—post-punk thrives most consistently on what I like to call permanent cold. All of the sorrow, the pity and the reverb clash into one another and from that happy accident arise the fumes of an atmosphere very much like waiting in the middle of an empty urban train station between four and eight in the morning at the end of January. Mix that with punk’s four chord goose step and you’ve got yourself something that is just tasteful and interesting enough to jump in and out of the pop whirlpool and not be immediately aggravating. That sums up at least a portion of Film School’s heart, soul and balls.
In sound and most certainly in name, Film School immediately conjure up past snapshots of all things strung out and post-industrial—except the wonders of the future gave them the advantage of better production. But, admittedly, it would be altogether hasty to generalize Film School’s vibe as killed. Hideout kicks off calmly enough with mid-tempo static guitars and various other tried and true tweaks of sound before the fuzz of the irregular heartbeat bass and rigid pitter-pattering drums lay on a sturdy foundation. Vocals are simplistic, but innocent and both shamelessly mature but shamefully young. These elements come together comfortably as they build up and collectively burst into an aural hallucination of red and black rainbows.
From then on, the album goes trough a series of sound-based episodes that contain recognizable characteristics that would do My Bloody Valentine, Mission of Burma, The Stone Roses, Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division/New Order, et. al. proud, if most of them weren’t a bunch of assholes who may or may not have stopped listening to other people’s music years ago. Fortunately, Film School can rely on its borderline neo-hippie charm to keep things vibrant. While I find such frolicking and aesthetic fornication disgusting, a little playfulness goes a long way when it mingles with a genre known mostly for its self-centered isolationism and overall dreariness.
It’s almost a damn shame that they never broke bigger along the lines of Interpol, whose lifespan is just as long as Film School’s. Despite their apparent drugginess, they’re not without their ambitions, and who isn’t? But Film School’s members are patient fellows who I feel have at least mastered livening up the dingiest of smoke-filled dives and practice spaces when not jaunting around opening gigs and festivals. And if there’s anything, and I mean anything that most people—liberal arts pretentious, taste-assessing or otherwise—can agree on, is that they write some badass intros.