Album Review: Porches – Pool

By Julia Leiby, Contributor

[Domino; 2016]

Rating: 4/5

Key Tracks: “Mood,” “Hour,” “Car”

It’s hard to believe that less than two years ago, Porches.’s Aaron Maine played a solo set to a small crowd at Wolf Haus here in Athens. Since that time, Porches. (based in NYC) has signed to Domino, a major record label based in London, toured extensively and played large shows such as a free Prospect Park concert this summer to over 10,000 people.

On February 5, Porches. released Pool, an entrancing, emotional synth-pop record, which is the first album Maine has released since he and his partner Greta Kline (Frankie Cosmos) stopped playing in each other’s bands. The album is a large shift in instrumentation and sound from Porches.’ last release, Slow Dance in the Cosmos, from a traditional guitar-based indie rock record to an experimental pop and electronic one.

However, the powerful emotive content of the songs remains as affecting as before, and Maine’s moody voice makes the songs stick. An early standout track on the album is “Mood,” a mournful ballad. Maine sings, “I just wait around / To hear the good news / To hear from you,” and despite these yearning lyrics, the song remains upbeat and poppy. “Mood” segues perfectly into “Hour,” the first single from the record, which features vocals from Kline and a dreamy, underwater-sounding synth, as Maine croons, “In my stoner hour / Oh how I float / Just wondering about her.”

The record’s lyrics mainly dwell on dealing with loneliness, going out at night, being transported far away, and the search for a place to belong. Another highlight of the record is “Car,” which features a beat reminiscent of New Order’s best songs. The final track, “Security,” despite its auto-tuned vocals, is the most passionate song on the record. According to a feature with Interview Magazine, Maine wrote it when he was feeling unhappy in a new apartment and commuting to a job he didn’t like. Though Porches. is a five piece live band, Maine recorded and wrote the album on his own in the apartment he and Kline share. The longing in his voice is palpable as he sings “All I want / And all I need / Is some security.”

Maine’s warm and charismatic vocals contrast and are highlighted by the streamlined, flawless electronic elements of the songs, and despite the drastic changes between this Porches. record and the last, it is fundamentally a joy to listen to.

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