Dull beginnings in search of authenticity
In a secluded room in Leipzig, Germany, Joel Randles, better known as Good Posture, recorded and produced his new debut EP, Exchange. This four track EP is Randles’ most ambitious release to date and attempts to capture the essence of chamber pop throughout its short duration. While Switch shines through its cohesion and occasional pockets of interest, it lacks the focused direction and authenticity necessary to give the listener a fully realized vision of who this emerging artist really is. Throughout, the moments seem predictable and designed for the genre, which inadvertently obscures Randles’ artistic voice.
The opening track, âLast Timeâ, introduces the sound space in which Switch resides. An array of blooming and shimmering synth lines contrast with Randles’ distorted and layered vocals. The stale melody of the verses is quickly eclipsed by the high-energy chorus built on a powerful hook. Plus, the pre-chorus towards the end of the track is one of the most compelling moments of the whole EP. In this one, most of the heavily stacked instruments disappear, leaving behind a heavily filtered vocal line atop a finely orchestrated and rhythmically sparse accompaniment. This combination of elements mimics the sound of an old radio with muted highs and lows. Eventually, the soundscape returns to its original form after this pre-chorus and fades to the end of the track.
The title song follows many of the same conventions as the previous song. Not much going on to report, and a lot of it gets repeated to the point of annoying. The most egregious example of this occurs during the bridge, where Randles repeats the lyrics “Now I’m Changing” in an apparent attempt to create tension for the song’s climax but instead deflates any previously created energy. .
âI Feel Fineâ is the most adventurous track, with a catchy melody and satisfying structure. Randles’ orchestration seems more deliberate on this track, with synths coming in and going out to match the flow of the melody and a gradual breakdown in instrumentation and tempo until the song ends. However, this satisfying disentangling of sound suddenly cuts off completely, leaving only the solo voice, which feels artificial and stylistically out of place.
The final track, “Italy (EP Version)”, is by far the strongest of the four. With a relaxed groove and spatial atmosphere reminiscent of a Connan Mockasin song, this track feels complete, unlike the other tracks. Randles leans on the psych-pop side of the bedroom genre, altering the pitch of the synths with light microtonal touches. Additionally, there is a strong guitar melody present throughout which adds clarity to the synth lineup. The compositional strengths of the song make it obvious to close the EP.
A feature shared across the four tracks on Switch is its simple lyricism. The general theme of change–by EP title–is its closest thematic link, but the repetitive and simple lyrical content limits further exploration. It’s not like there is a requirement for detailed and evocative lyrics in a song for it to be considered “good.” On the contrary, sometimes the simplest lyrics can have the greatest impact because they move away from the superfluous. However, in the case of Switch, this limited lyrical content seems out of date. It puts up yet another wall between artist and listener, as it is so thematically vast that it leaves little for the listener to really connect.
In general, Switch has a few interesting elements scattered all over the place but ultimately lacks substance. It’s impressive that Randles was able to record and produce this EP on his own, but the convoluted score and poor recording quality make it clear that he was self-taught. This DIY quality provides a sense of privacy and authenticity that can get lost in big budgets and fancy equipment, as the artist has full reign over his delivery. However, with limited lyrical expression and generic musical devices used throughout all four tracks, there isn’t much more authenticity to be grasped. Switch, Sadly, the listener wonders what even the artistic voice of Good Posture is, a question the emerging young artist will hopefully resolve over time.