The curious case of post-punk

Post-punk seemingly died in the 80s after the emergence of college and alternative rock groups like R.E.M. and The Replacements, but the genre has had a surprising resurgence overseas.

Post-punk is the name that is essentially given to any punk band that doesn’t really fall in the parameters of being a punk band. According to Oxford Languages, it usually constitutes rock music that sounds like punk music but is more focused on melodies, rather than raw aggression.

Now, bands in the United Kingdom and Ireland are reviving the once-dead genre after the pop-punk genre had a similar trajectory in the United States, although pop-punk fans didn’t have to wait nearly as long as fans of post-punk did.

Two bands that are succeeding at the top of the genre are Black Midi and Black Country, New Road. Both had incredibly successful album releases this year, namely BCNR’s, which will almost certainly push them to the forefront of alternative music in general.

BCNR’s trajectory remains an interesting one to follow after lead singer Isaac Wood’s surprising departure from the band just four days before the release of their sophomore effort, this year’s “Ants From Up There.” Since Wood’s departure, several other band members have picked up songwriting and singing responsibilities and have said that they won’t perform any songs off of their first two albums, both of which Wood served as lead singer on.

Aside from the British side of the post-punk revival scene, there is a surprisingly strong sense of the movement in the midwestern United States, which is battling with its sister genre, Midwest emo.

One of the founding members of the post-punk revival movement, at least on the American side, is Detroit’s own Protomartyr, whose third album, 2015’s “The Agent Intellect,” garnered critical acclaim, namely for the standout single, “The Devil In His Youth.”

According to Apple Music, the band began playing music together in 2010 before releasing their first album titled “No Passion All Technique” in 2012, where Michigan native Joe Casey takes the helm as lead singer with his uniquely passionate, baritone voice.

Back in Europe, another band that has made major waves since their debut album “Dogrel” dropped in 2019 is Ireland’s Fontaines D.C., which is led by Grian Chatten. The band stands proudly in its Irish sensibilities, never trying to sound like something that they’re not.

A lot of singers from the U.K. and Ireland will put the “Hollywood” effect on their voice to sound more American, but Chatten never once does this. Instead, he retains his original Irish accent, which lends itself so incredibly well to tracks like “Big,” “Boys in the Better Land” and “Jackie Down the Line.”

Another great story of the British post-punk scene is the London-based group TV Priest. The band is comprised of a group of old high school friends who reunited after 20 years to play music together again.

The band played one gig together in an abandoned industrial freezer before Covid-19 interrupted. Luckily, their maiden concert gained so much buzz that they were immediately signed to Sub Pop Records and released back-to-back records in 2021 and 2022, which are two of the strongest post-punk records in the last decade since the resurgence began.

The movement is obviously not limited to just these few groups, as there are many other great acts currently in the scene. Notably shame, Egyptian Blue, IDLES and many more, but I believe that the above mentioned bands are some of the ones that will stand the test of time.