Porridge Radio have reached a stage where they are impossible to ignore. Formed in 2015 – and originally the solo project Dana Margolin – their extensive collection of Bandcamp songs maps their progression from the low-fi and unassuming to the polished and complex formula that is promised on their second album Every Bad.
Luckily for us, the fundamentals of what makes Porridge Radio singular have remained unchanged throughout the increase in members, resources and anticipation between each new release. Every Bad is a dynamic, contemplative album that Margolin explains was a cathartic approach to ‘figuring out how I want to exist in relation to others, and how to process my own feelings, how to be vulnerable.’ Each track offers a new topic for contemplation, neatly delivered in succinct yet powerful lyricism.
The opening track ‘Born Confused’ is a breakup song that is refreshing in its rawness. As with most of the tracks on the album, there is a degree of polarity between each element of the song. Margolin’s concise, often simplistic vocals build from a disheartened melody to a rousing, trill chanting as she repeats ‘Thank you for making me happy’. This polarity that runs through the album reflects the antagonism of everyday life. In the midst of anguish and angst there are dashes of rage and humour- these real-life expressions of emotion have been neatly simulated throughout ‘Every Day’.
‘Sweet’ confronts the everyday struggles that come with depression and anxiety. The deadpan, ominous delivery of ‘I am charming I am sweet / and she will love when she meets me’ is buffeted by a chaotic wall of sounds that is every bit as emotive as the lyrical theme.
Most songs build up to a repetitive mantra – an outpouring of the soul that represents the confusion of human interactions and leaves you with a weird sense of relief. ‘Long’ and ‘Lilac’ are the best examples of how this is perfectly executed. Margolins’ voice is able to transport you to the exact place that she is experiencing. The differing of musical and lyrical tone between tracks and interjection of an intense, autotuned monologue ‘(Something)’, ensure that the persistent repetition does not become tiresome.
‘Homecoming Song’ perfectly wraps up the album and confirms, in the repetition of ‘there’s nothing inside’ what, as a listener, you have concluded on your own. What was needed to be shared, and repeated into oblivion, has been.
‘Every Bad’ is a pure, refined form of personal expression from a band that have fully realised their genre-defining potential. It’s venerable rawness demands attention and reflection, and verges on comforting (in that it reassures you that your not the only person that wants to scream sometimes). This is as far from background noise as possible.