On Tuesday, Ben Gibbard’s beloved one-off act The Postal Service posted a short video that amounts to what we in the industry like to call “teasing new music” or being “up to something.” Now, we know this was a colossal fakeout, with Gibbard, Jimmy Tamborello, and Jenny Lewis reuniting for another star-studded audition video to recruit new band members and raise awareness for voting. Deepest condolences to anyone who thought a new album was on the way.
Following the lead of the band’s 2013 fake audition video, The Postal Service returned for a Zoom version of this concept with a loaded cast of celebrity friends. Comedian Jon Daly effectively hosts as “Dave from Sub Pop,” with “Weird Al” Yankovich, Anne Hathaway, Kenny G, Tim Robinson, Guns ‘N’ Roses’ Slash and Duff McKagan, Huey Lewis, Patton Oswalt, Vanessa Bayer, and many more in tow. With very funny comedy writer guy Tom Scharpling at the helm, it definitely doesn’t sink down to “Imagine” levels of celeb content or the flimsiness of a major sitcom reuniting over webcam, but the latent awkwardness of Zoom call reaction shots still pose a barrier.
Throughout the nearly 20 minute-video, the celebs take their best stab at covering Postal Service songs, or make the case for voting. It’s at the very least worth hanging on to hear “Weird Al” banging on a mug and yelping “vote, voote, vooooote” before abruptly ending the call.
So maybe it was a cruel joke to dangle a proper reunion before fans, at a time when long-dormant bands and projects are getting back together more than ever before, given the exceptional circumstances. Given the event that President Trump pulls off an unlikely comeback from having coronavirus and winning again, harmless reunions like this and West Wing voter registration specials might be remembered in an exceedingly embarrassing light, limiting outreach to little more than sure-thing voters. Hope I'm wrong about that last part!