Born of the classic American roots music out of the artistic catalyst that is Brooklyn, Jus Post Bellum are one of the few modern indie folk bands that do justice to the forerunners of the genre. Their sophomore release, Oh July, is self-described as focusing its gaze on more of a “character study than a sequence of songs,” and is a great follow-up to the 2012 LP, Devil Winter.
Beginning with “Gimme That Gun,” the album banks on its strongest leg to grab the listener immediately. The song lays on a foundation of polyphonic vocal harmonies, followed by the subtle and minimalistic stylings that can make or break great roots music. Ultimately, Geoffrey Wilson, Hannah Jensen, Zach Dunham and Daniel Bieber, who all contribute to the vocals one way or another across the record, do a wonderful job of setting up the key components right away and bring to life a great sound.
Followed swiftly by “Oh July” and “Sonny,” the release goes to interesting lengths to project itself as an innovative and complex production. While remaining in the same element as the opening, each song has its own distinguishing personality that separates Oh July from the norm of what is expected.
The arrangement across all 11 tracks is something to behold. The subtle, quiet texture of the various and very different instruments involved in laying the foundation holds together perfectly all the way up to the conclusion, “Lake Minnesota.”
While the quiet and delicate nature that makes up the majority may fall out of favor with those more attuned to the often unpredictable style of indie, or the pronounced and outspoken way folk tends to appear, the album on the whole throws a few curveballs to keep itself worthy of a listen, and is at least the highlight of the early career of Jus Post Bellum.