Of the four elements, not one of earth, air, or fire can quite compete with water when it comes to pure symbolic potency. Perhaps nobody knows this better than Porches lead-man Aaron Maine, who having impressed on ‘Pool’ and its subsequent demo renderings ‘Water’, has now brought his aquatic attachments to ‘The House’, the third full-length offering from Porches.
Opening cut ‘Leave The House’ moves with a pounding snare and subdued synth line, inviting a solitude-seeking Maine to chime in with considered remarks like “I don’t wanna leave you out / I just wanna leave the house”. Even sharper are the contributions of Alex Giannascoli, whose raspy vocals impart an added sting to an already chilling hook: "Let it have me, how it wants / It’s never what I thought".
Elsewhere, ‘Find Me’ and ‘Ono’ channel the danceable charm of ‘Pool’, while the powerful swell of ‘Now The Water’ proves as immersive as its title suggests. Another with all the makings of an instant live favorite is ‘Anymore’, where a trance-inducing intro and thumping percussion combine to create an unrelenting sense of momentum.
Beneath its glossy exterior, however, ‘The House' is flooded by feelings of isolation and anxiety, and coloured by a fascination with identity. Maine grapples with the abstractions which anchor us in limited realities, from relationships and occupations to wardrobe and worldview. In this spirit, ‘By My Side’ sees Maine waver between steady conviction (“I will call you by your name, if you call me by mine”) and resigned dread (“I have no idea who I see in the mirror”).
Musically, the latest installment in the Porches discography is marked by a more hands-off recording style that dials back on the fine-tuned production of its predecessor— “I made a point to try and capture the song the day it was conceived’ says Maine.
Drawing strength from this minimalist approach, the stark minute-long sound collage ‘Understanding’ warms to a hearth of heavily-doctored vocals in the vein of Dirty Projectors. Closing number ‘Anything U Want’ is equally placid, but nowhere is the record’s air of simplicity more striking than on its gorgeous centrepiece ‘Country’, which with a fluid grace, slowly engulfs all before it.
Words: Noveen Bajpai
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