Post-punk was formed in the late 70’s after the first wave of punk rock hit. The musicians embraced the sense of freedom that punk entailed, but also recognised the limitations in its pace and aggression. Instead, many incorporated different genres into their version of punk such as krautrock, reggae and even disco. And so post-punk became an umbrella term which described the movement of many to create confrontational punk music that was able to span across the whole musical spectrum.
Right now post-punk is in a strange transition period. It’s inheritors who led the post-punk revival movement, such as The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, have seemed to have relinquished these roots for a more accessible sound. Instead we’ve seen many classic post-punk bands reformed such as Gang of Four, Wire and Mission of Burma, and many still, like Peru Ubu and The Fall, still active today.
Though before the post-rock movement, Television set the blueprints for what was to come in its near-faultless album Marquee Moon. Their peak is on the 10 minute eponymous song, which portrays vivid storytelling and biting guitar solos.
Wire were one of the forerunners of the post-punk movement with the symbolically titled debut Pink Flag. They took a much more concise and minimalist approach to songwriting, thus encapsulating the highest punk tenet: doing the exact opposite of what you’re expected to do.
Gang of Four took an overtly political stance in their music, and the quick paced guitar jangles reflect this sense of desperation against the establishment that punk aimed to subvert.
Taking their name from the Camus novel, The Fall gave a more intellectual view on the music they were creating, with lead singer Mark E. Smith rambling throughout.
This Heat created an effective bridge between punk and psychedelia, especially this song, which sounds like a really really bad trip.
As the first 30 seconds of feedback on the song will show, Pere Ubu were into experimenting. They were also very much into visual performances. However, this not deter them at all from a kick-ass chorus.
Though mostly ignored outside their hometown Boston, they have been since cited as a pivotal band for punk in America. And this song is one of the angriest in the post-punk arsenal.
Of course Joy Division needed to be here somewhere. If one can move their focus from the legend of Ian Curtis, then they’d recognise the full support of throbbing basslines and catchy guitar riffs to make an epic hit (re-eancted in this case by Playmobil men)
Though Ian Curtis’ swansong, “Ceremony” was given full justice by New Order who were the remaining members of Joy Division. They’d later go on to incorporate electronic music in punk music to great acclaim.