Porches search for security on “Pool”

“Pool” takes the New York-based group in a sleeker and groovier direction.

porchesmusic.bandcamp.com

porchesmusic.bandcamp.com

Brooks Ginnan, Writer

“I really try and make music that I would want to listen to and I realized that I don’t listen to rock music, ever,” said Aaron Maine, Porches frontman, in conversation with Interview Magazine shortly before the release of “Pool.” Maine’s fifth release under the Porches moniker, the album is removed from nearly any notion of the rock label whatsoever. Gone is the realism of acoustic drums and raw vocal takes, replaced with sleek and melancholic synthesizers, drum machines and even auto-tune in a way that impressively averts all feeling of gimmick.

razor sharp coalescence

“Pool” wastes no time flaunting its sensuous demeanor, seamlessly shifting between club-ready drops and detailed observations of seemingly unordinary occurrences on “Underwater.” This ability to draw inspiration from mundane moments plays a big role on the album, noticeable on standout “Car.” The only track bearing any sign of the band’s live energy, intertwining guitars blanket a droning cry of “oh, what a machine,” before the car in question soars away in an overdriven wall of sound.

While this kind of energy leaves one begging for more, closer examination of “Pool” reveals the tight showmanship that runs through a Porches live performance remains. This energy is much more self-contained, appearing as a razor sharp coalescence of rhythm and melody. This clarity and precision likely results from “Pool” being not only a departure from rock music, but a conventional studio setup altogether — one responsible for the more organic sounds of Porches’ discography.

Tangible intimacy

Maine self-produced the album in his Greenwich Village living room, and each song evidences the work of a perfectionist, shown in the layering of different synth and drum sounds or the subtle effects on Maine’s vocals. What some have deemed a lack of range from Maine on “Pool” sounds more like depressed yearning than half-hearted monotony. This eyes-glazed-over malaise is more suggestive of a depressive state than angst-ridden cracks in character and voice.

Regardless of its smooth and poppy exterior, “Pool” is an album of tangible intimacy. It has messy moments, like the paranoid questioning of “Are you mad?” on “Shape,” and hopeful assurance, on the hymn-like closing of “Security.” All in all, the gloomy and chilly vibes of “Pool” are a perfect reminder that despite the confusion and haze of everyday life, beauty and comfort can be found in the small, even insignificant moments of living, and like Maine croons on the album’s closing moments, “everything will be okay.”

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