Porches - The House
Aaron Maine of Porches has always had a dour tendency to his music. When He was producing more alt-rock it tended to weigh his music down to a point where the vocals could never pull it back around. Since 2016's Pool however things have changed for the New York based musician. He took on a more synthy posture and focused on the pop side of things. He pulls this sound even more to the forefront on this new record The House which at times sounds like an 80's starlight dream. "Now the Water" is the first song that really strikes you and pulls you in to it's orbit. It has this absolutely infectious hook and a pop sensibility that is so subtle that it never feels sugary or overwrought. The record flows with this incredible bop, not shocking when you see Blood Orange (Dev Hynes) had a part in the production. I've been going pretty hard at electropop lately because three years in to the genre really blooming it felt like things were getting stale and re-purposed rather than real creativity going on, but not on this album. Maine continues to stress the artistic, and make sure his music doesn't slip into some kind of imitation. These shifts however are not big bold swings, they are small changes that give his sound a distinct flavor. "Akeren" is a song that shouldn't work; sung completely in Norwegian and with this eclectic almost techno beat it serves are more of an interlude, but has a real distinct vibe to it that creates a shift in the albums sound into a more deeper electronic exploration.
There are times where Maine feels more self indulgent than the song requires. As the album progresses He does little to shift the sound and the entire second half sounds so similar, these neon drenched love songs just never shift and rarely surprise. It's a stark contrast from the vibe you get at the beginning of the record where you can't wait to hear what's next. On "W Longing" the beat never moves and when there is a big opportunity for something bold the song shrinks. The saxophone solo on Pools was so novel and exciting, but on "W Longing" it feels like an after thought at best. It's disappointing to end this record on such a whimper because it makes the rest of the album feel worse. What I do like is that Porches is trying to inject something new into electropop, rather than letting it be what it will be. He just needs to do this for a full album and throw in some variables to keep you on your toes. There are some really solid tracks here and a record to be proud of, just not all you would hope for.
7.0 out of 10