This is just like Moby, but without all the good stuff.
On Jan. 19, Porches released their third full length album The House, and it failed to live up to the success of their last release Pool from two years ago.
Pool saw Aaron Maine, the voice behind the project, take a more ambitious direction that paid great dividends for him. The synthpop he brought to the table put him on the map after saying goodbye to his former post-punk, dream pop-esque style of the past. Pool was jam packed with seamless transitions and a warm, ethereal feel that really hit you hard with each track.
It can’t be said that the same rang true with The House. Maine failed to build on the acclaim he received with his previous album and took a nosedive by making an overall boring record.
The following is an autopsy of The House:
While the first track “Leave the House” acts as an underwhelming intro, the song segues into the strongest track on the record, “Find Me.” This is where we get a taste of what made Pool such a charming album. The synth heavy, laid back tone of Maine’s voice was reminiscent of what we have seen him achieve in the past.
It is more stripped down, but if the rest of the album was like this, I wouldn’t be so pessimistic about it. I appreciate his vulnerability in this track, as he talks about disassociating and his anxiety attacks he suffered in his mid-20s.
“Think I’ll go somewhere else, where I can sink into myself. Just watch me go,” is a verse from the track that separates it from the pack. This song is second to none on the release.
Then, the record flatlines.
The next seven tracks are forgettable and quite frankly difficult to get to. Maine either tries to make one-dimensional, minimalist indie songs or experiment with dancehall and reggae influence that comes off as an overall miss.
It’s not until “Goodbye,” that the album is briefly revived. The synths make a return with a catchy instrumental that there just isn’t enough of on this record.
The lyrical content also makes me yearn for Porches of the past. He sings: “I like the thought you think of me/It’s softer as I start to sink/The trees were sex, an orange sky/It is so sad to say goodbye,” which could have easily slotted into Pool.
Then the album dies again. The next track, “Swimmer,” just acts as an unnecessary bridge into the last quality song on the record, “W Longing.”
The last two tracks, “Ono” and “Anything U Want,” could honestly be left off as the record ends with something still left to be desired.
I realize this album was laced with references to Pool and that’s for good reason. Pool was easily the only album where he pushed the limit and tried something new.
I believe he tried to do the same with The House but what we got instead was a predictable, Urban Outfitters muzak type album that was far too long.
If you took the good songs that were touched upon above, such as “Find Me,” “Goodbye,” and “W Longing,” and wrapped them into an EP, it would have been much more satisfying to listen to.
At a certain point in artists careers, I believe they come to a crossroads where they aren’t sure what direction they want to go in. It can be hard, especially when you have already accomplished the feat of releasing a widely acclaimed record. It really would have been nice to see Porches push the envelope again and go in a more experimental direction.
Instead, they retreated to the music they were making in the early ‘10s. At the end of the day, the album doesn’t possess enough to capture anyone’s attention and makes it an overall loss.