Brighton-based Porridge Radio’s new single ‘Give/Take’ is an interesting lo-fi track, made up of a dreamy, shoegazing ethereality on top of a sturdier, rock backbone, overlaid with gentle, stream-of-consciousness vocals.
Porridge Radio is a genuine band of four individuals, and perhaps because of this, it has a solidly distinguishable bassline and genuine, traditional percussion, not sacrificing literal foundation of drums and bass for atmospheric noise, unlike a good deal of contemporary guitar-based dream pop. That foundation, beneath spacey guitar and keyboard parts, builds the raw-edged, slight heaviness that made early lo-fi so memorable, an interesting contrast to the vocalist’s superficial apathy, which grows to genuine desperation by the end. As their panic rises, the quality of their singing takes new turns, rising above a bland monotone to something genuinely emotionally striking.
These vocals are somewhat reminiscent of a more dramatic version of a Courtney Barnett/Kurt Vile collaboration and the lyrics like an early Damon Albarn composition – hyper self-conscious but also ultra self-aware. Together, they present the internal monologue of an individual pondering what they want, exploring their own psyche and trying to map that psyche onto the physical world. The words aren’t pretty, but they aren’t trying to be. They are straightforward, but evocative – a tool, one of many in the song, just like the bass or drums, keyboards or guitars. It’s an ensemble cast of a song, with no real starring role. Every part is its own unique self, despite their lack of showiness or virtuosity, but they work over the course of the piece to fit together, and finally succeed.
Overall, ‘Give/Take’ is a solid, enjoyable track, a personal zeitgeist for the lyrics’ nameless protagonist, and one made by a real band of distinct individuals, and not just someone’s passion project. It’s, at its core, old-school lo-fi, but with all the disparate influences available in the late 2010s.
‘Give/Take’ is out now released via Memorials of Distinction – available to Stream/Purchase here.
Porridge Radio will be touring the UK this April, playing at the following locations:
Thursday 11th – Rialto, Brighton
Friday 12th – The Festing, Portsmouth
Saturday 13th – The Old England, Bristol
Sunday 14th – Eagle Inn, Salford
Tuesday 16th – Nice ‘n’ Sleazy, Glasgow
Wednesday 17th – Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh
Thursday 18th – Delicious Clam, Sheffield
Friday 19th – SET Dalston, London