With Post War Glamour Girls being one of the most highly rated of the emerging talents emanating from Leeds we wanted to catch up with them and discuss their journey so far and what the future holds. We had a chat with them before their gig at Ardent Road Social Club in Halifax having recently returned from a tour of Europe.
Post War Glamour Girls comprise of vocalist and guitarist James Smith, guitarist James Thorpe, bassist and vocalist Alice Scott and drummer Ben Clyde. The band all met at University in Leeds through a love of similar music, Alice and James Smith originally bonded over the Weezer t-shirt that James was wearing. Ben, James Smith and Alice were all originally drummers and Ben joked “I’m the worst drummer in the band”.
Their combined influences include The Smiths, Joy Division, Nick Cave, The Pixies, Tom Waits and Roxy Music. Elements of these bands are present in their material but their style is truly unique, their B-side to ‘Red Terror’ is a cover of Robert Palmer’s ‘Johnny And Mary’ which is one of James Thorpe’s influences. Another influence of theirs is John Cooper Clarke and their name is taken from one of his poems. Unsurprisingly the band found playing the warm up for him during his set in Wakefield a huge honour.
They are one of the most creative acts around and that stems from the talent they all posses individually and that fact that all creative decisions are made as a group. Each member composes their own parts, giving them all the creative freedom which provides their unique and engaging creations. They explained that no one is afraid to offer their opinion and let the others know if they aren’t happy with something. They work well as a unit and this comes from their strong bond as friends and their respect for each other’s ability and flair. James Thorpe pointed out that “when you assemble a band like ours it has to be a group decision or it just doesn’t work”.
James Smith is the chief lyric writer and his lyrics have been praised for their abstract and nonconformist nature. He writes about issues and events that have taken his interest recently and adds layers of spin and whit which take them into the territory of their trademark style. I was particularly interested in the story behind the lyrics to ‘Sestra’, one of the tracks from their forthcoming album. The influence behind the song and the way he turns something which most lyricists wouldn’t touch into such a powerful and emotive song is a fascinating process as James himself explained. “I watch a lot of Russia Today, the news channel, and there was a story on there about how some polar bears had gone into a village and attacked some locals. The locals had then killed some of them and put their heads on spikes at the entrance to the village, as if that would make the polar bears think ‘I’d better not go on there’. So the song is about that and also about how we are ultimately responsible for this as we are destroying the bear’s natural habitat which is forcing them to come into contact with humans looking for food. Sestra is Russian for sister so when I say ‘listen up Sestra’ that is me being urban and sassing in Russian”. “I like the audience to have to think about what the lyrics might possibly be about and the meanings behind them because I think it gives you a greater personal connection with the song”.
Collectively they are all extremely fond of the recording process, their debut album Pink Fur is set for release in the winter after deciding to put it out themselves. All the members spoke of how proud they are of the album and judging from the tracks they have been playing out live from it they are rightly proud as it is getting a great response from audiences. They are equally fond of live performance as they are recording and enjoy the freedom of expression it grants them. Their live performances are gaining notoriety for the energy they put in and the undoubted quality and individuality of each show. Their pride and passion for their work is evident in the way they give everything on stage. James Smith is an endearing and explosive front man prone to impassioned screams and throwing guitars at the end of a lively set.
The brilliance of the recordings and their gripping live performance has lead to a series of high profile support slots this year. They supported I Like Trains on their European tour earlier in the year and they have just finished supporting PINS on their U.K. tour. The European tour was an experience that they couldn’t speak highly enough of, the culture of the cities they visited and the attitude of the European fans particularly impressed them. Alice noted the different way they treat the artists over there “backstage here is fine, but over there they really look after you and they have a real appreciation of the art form.”
They have also gained a reputation for the artistic and engaging videos for their singles. They don’t have much involvement with the making of the video themselves but they allow certain people which they trust to produce them and they are always really pleased with the results.
As a band they have a great bond, both on a musical level and a personal one, they regularly go on nights out together which often ends up finishing in rather in unceremonious fashion. At the end of one particular night James Smith ended up throwing Alice into a washing machine but as he explained it’s not as bad as it sounds “when Alice has had a drink she likes to fight, not in an aggressive way she just likes to play fight. One night she ran at me and I flipped her over my shoulder into the washing machine”. Having met them it was clear how close they are from their regular ribbing of each other, James Smith made a few digs at James Thorpe for his hair and dress sense.
Post War Glamour Girls will be touring the U.K. in November and their latest single ‘Light bulb’ is available from their bandcamp page now.