Monday, December 28, 2020

Best of 2020 • Porridge Radio • Sweet

The band’s once-minimal sound—reminiscent, back in 2015, of Frankie Cosmos’ witty Bandcamp-as-diary style—has scaled colossally, transforming into a fever dream that lifts every song. Where 2016’s Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers, recorded in their drummer’s shed, had a dark streak, Every Bad is unabashed sorcery. Margolin’s dusky voice and serrated riffs sometimes recall Polly Jean Harvey, sometimes the attack of early Karen O, but Porridge Radio has devised its own approach to guitar music. The songs balance stoicism with just enough cracked-open ache to feel human. In their quiet-loud dynamics are the exorcisms of a woman who knows that a whisper is often more tormenting than a scream. PF

 

A gift exchange between a mother and daughter is at the center of “Sweet,” the fourth single from Porridge Radio’s upcoming second album Every Bad. The gift is small—a light-up novelty pen—and the transaction is awkward. “And are you still so depressed?” the mother asks after explaining how the pen works, exercising dominion over a toy if she can’t do the same for her child. Porridge Radio, founded in Brighton in 2015 and helmed by singer-guitarist Dana Margolin, casts the slipperiness of self-formation in stark light, and wavers between pop and punk influences. Their songs are confessional, but without the meandering of a diary entry, made up of focused phrases rather than cluttered explanations.


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