This Porches article was written by Ben Malkin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Macon Oxley.
Time for some indietronica spliced with numbing moodiness and a bit of ‘80s flashiness. ‘Pool’ sees Porches follow up 2013’s ‘Slow Dance in the Cosmos’ with new energy, but pretty percussion patterns coupled with said moodiness also makes this more of a lethargic listen: the energy drink was consumed, but a lack of exercise resulted in an unnatural laze – a lapse of bothering.
At the forefront of rich dreariness is ‘Be Apart’, a song with a strange sense of listenability; the vocals lunge at the listener in a booming mutter, the structure is laid-back and the main synth melody acts as the song’s everlasting flame. Whilst said melody gives the song meaning, you can imagine the musician casually and half-heartedly pressing down on the keys with a vacant look on their face. But, yes, ‘Be Apart’ is a very strong track only matched by a few others. While songs like ‘Underwater’ epitomise the record for the wrong reasons, songs like ‘Mood’, ‘Even the Shadow’ and ‘Shaver’ do it for the right reasons, almost equalling ‘Be Apart’. These songs either use that fierce sense of dread and tiredness, or use likeable synth leads to make sure the album becomes more enchanting than boringly sombre.
Aaron Maine is a talented vocalist, but his execution isn’t always as effective as one might hope. For the most part, he does a fine job at personifying the emotions that are meant to be conveyed, but vocally those emotions just seem to range from sad to slightly sadder. Still, if you’re looking for someone that simply has a great voice, Maine is your main man.
As you claw through more of the simplistically-titled tracks, like ‘Glow’ and ‘Car’, you’ll be able to tell what kind of journey you’ll be going on with the album – a very stilted one, sometimes with not enough movement, like there’s a lot of traffic on the expressway. Maybe ‘Pool’ could serve as a nice collection of laid-back anthems for the downtrodden, or at the very least an album you have to be in that mood for. In this sense, it does its job.
‘Pool’ has its highlights, it has its hard-hitters, but there are portions where Porches get too stoic for their own good, which can be okay depending on what state of mind you’re in.