Porches, aka Aaron Maine, began work on his third album, The House, straight after his last, and most successful album to date, Pool, was finished. He spent a year-and-a-half perfecting his musically upbeat electro sound. The House features guest appearances from, among others, Sandy (Alex G), Dev Hynes, and even his own dad. LP and CD on Domino.
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“Don’t know how good it is, but it’s compulsively listenable”. So goes the only review of this record I’ve actually seen so far, from a friend, and if you’ll excuse my anecdotal lede here, I think it works well. ‘The House’ feels like a blank canvas that’s been slightly adjusted, its emotions chrome and its electronics pulsing frail. As its second track -- a bouncy, throwback dance pop song with a side of mumbled indie pop -- breaks in, Norman editor Clint offers his own review: “The music they play at my gym”.
Coming back off of a winner of a debut, Porches has made his new record in malleable styles, torn by how people should feel to it: its uplift is total, whether under the influence of house, chillwave or jangle, but the drum machines and auto-tune also serve the sad Porches of old. He sounds bolstered by the sand-papered production on “Now the Water”, but it’s a downtrodden song whose melodies still tiptoe down into melancholy. His strides forward into the biggest and clearest articulation of Porches often flare up the clumsiness: “When the air hit my face, and it smelled like the truth” is a lyric best hidden from the foreground, but Porches unabashed daring on this record steers him on to making “Country” star-gazing ballad.
“Compulsively listenable” is right: there’s enough diverging on this record for a lifetime, offering Porches for the club and some tears in the aftermath. It might be uneven, but it’s never anything but clear in its aims: wide open, maximalist expression where the topic sentence comes after the sentiment.
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