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Porches - The House (Album Review)

Tuesday, 30 January 2018 Written by Jennifer Geddes

On ‘The House’, Aaron Maine explores the loneliness of the bedroom producer. Taking the synth-pop sound of his last album, ‘Pool’, and moving the dial a few degrees to a colder temperature, we find Porches in a much more isolated place as Maine reveals personal fragility.

Opening with soft, broken vocals, the album navigates a difficult period in the songwriter’s life and was written either side of his break up with Frankie Cosmos’s Greta Kline. “I would tell you, if I knew, what I needed you to do. But I can't see through the blue and I have not a clue,” he sings on the opening track, Leave This House, which features Domino labelmate Sandy (Alex G).

Find Me, meanwhile, is a house track. While the genre is typically euphoric and something to be experienced collectively, here the beats drive social anxiety: “I think that I'll stay inside. If you don't think that they'd mind. I can't let it find me.”

The titular house is both a safe space where Maine can hide from the world, and a place he wants to leave as he tries to physically remove himself from what he views as his problems. But it’s hard to escape from the dark of your own head.

By way of contrast, water reflects a sense of relief. Country, which features another New York scenester and labelmate, Dev Hynes, describes a day at the lake. W Longing, meanwhile, includes the line: “This cold pool. Glowing against the night. Is the only thing I believe is right.”

On Ono he sings: “In the night I feel clean. When darkness swallows me. I escape from the blue. Like come the steam coming off the pool.” And on Swimmer he again wants to be ‘clean’. “I go swimming deep into the lake. It gets me so clean,” he sings. “It lets me escape.” This is not an exhaustive list of references, either.

These sad lyrics are set against electronic beats and sparse synth melodies that highlight the sense of anxiety and isolation. Tracks like Anymore and Goodbye are built around evolving multi-layered individual hooks, while others are short, intense bursts that quickly disappear. Understanding is a lovely little (literally at one minute) track that takes inspiration from late ‘80s/early ‘90s R&B and features Maine’s father on vocals.

Maine tried to capture pure inspiration here and, as such, ‘The House’ is packed full of creative flecks that reveal new layers on every listen. You can picture can him hunched over his laptop, alone and obsessively working on his music. But his constant pursuit of new ideas also feels like a lack of confidence in his own songwriting skills, and he doesn’t allow any one thought to speak for itself.

Pursuing your own vision is important, and external influences such as labels and bandmates can be a hindrance, but advances in technology mean that bedroom producers don’t need anyone at all. Really, they could be seen to be missing out. Working with others, if you find the right people, can take your music to a new level. It can take it out of the shadows of the house and into the warm sunshine by the pool.

Porches Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu April 12 2018 - BRISTOL Rough Trade Records
Fri April 13 2018 - MANCHESTER Deaf Institute
Sat April 14 2018 - GLASGOW Mono - Kings Court
Mon April 16 2018 - LONDON Village Underground

Click here to compare & buy Porches Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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