Having just signed to Secretly Canadian, a label that counts acts like Whitney and Yoko Ono amongst their close pals, Porridge Radio dropped the second prelude to their next album: a song titled ‘Sweet’. Packed with the band’s usual blend of washed out, lazy day deliveries and tumbling ramshackle guitar battles, ‘Sweet’ continues the trend of previous single ‘Lilac,’ blending the rough, shed-recorded aesthetic of their first record with cleaner, more direct production.
Margolin’s dry vocal is contrasted by a high, tuneful backing vocal. Like a guiding conscience, these twee flippant sighs drive home an emotional bitterness. Porridge Radio songs often border on spoken word, and the lyrics are reminiscent of Eels: “My Mum gave me this pen… it lights up when you press it… and are you still so depressed?” The tone is laid back, direct, but hiding an incredible sadness. And, if I can be permitted one further comparison, the angry deadpan delivery is very akin to Courtney Barnett.
Very much in the same tender vs angry vein as ‘Lilac,’ ‘Sweet’ is like the sound a bird would hear if it continually flew back and forth between a secluded forest and a fully operational abattoir. It’s a bipolar song, but it’s never jarring. It’s a tense seance that exorcises some personal demons.
And speaking of spirits, the delicate and innocent verses are punched and throttled by formidable guitars towering like noisy behemoths, and as the track progresses, this energy possesses the vocals into an anguished banshee shriek. The deranged intonation, “I am charming/ I am sweet” takes on a greater, more ironic meaning, prophesied by the previous motherly observation, “My Mum says that I look like a nervous wreck.” Twinkly piano and tenderly tickled cymbals are sandwiched between this unhinged noise, and it creates a good dynamic contrast.
‘Sweet’ is not what you’d call comforting. It’s actually pretty unnerving. And it isn’t a complex track either, so if that’s what you’re looking for you won’t find that here. But it’s honest, it’s uncompromising, and unlike most teenagers going through a phase, it knows who it is and what it wants to be. So too are Porridge Radio a band that will appeal to those looking for honesty and directness. Like all good things, be it food, friends or flights, direct is better. And Porridge Radio do it better than most.
Porridge Radio’s new album, Every Bad is out 13th March – and is available to Pre-Order here.
Porridge Radio will tour the UK throughout March/April in support of their new album:
26th March – Soup Kitchen, Manchester
27th March – Studio 2, Liverpool
28th March – Ritual Union Festival, Bristol
29th March – Glad Cafe, Glasgow
31st March – Record Junkee, Sheffield
1st April – Colours, London
3rd April – The Bullingdon, Oxford
4th April – The Westhill Hall, Brighton