Last week, I talked about how punk’s impetus to strip things down often accentuated melody.
But even the original punks quickly got bored with punk, and started looking for ways to change it up…and thus, punk begat post-punk.
When used as an aesthetic, not strictly temporal, descriptor, “post-punk” generally does a couple things -- one, it sometimes strips things even further down -- to the point of leaving spaces or holes in the sonics. Cut the chords; they’ve got too many notes.
Consequently, if punk often bursts with melody, post-punk often prizes rhythm. It’s no coincidence that one of the big post-punk tropes is to elevate the prominence of the bass guitar, often letting it fill the role that lead guitar would traditionally take in a rock band.
Likewise, post-punk often looks outside rock to draw from other forms of pop music -- like funk’s chicken-scratch guitars, or the thump of disco.
Or the cavernous echo of dub (why isn’t there more gothic dub? That is just two great tastes that taste great together, if you ask me):