You might remember we featured Brighton’s Porridge Radio a while back, when we premiered a track from their split with West America. Now the band, led by Dana Margolin, are back with a new album, Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers. The album sees Porridge Radio rework lots of their early self-recorded demos, producing a record they describe as “Struggles with life, love and boredom – spelt out with sticky fingers by five idiot savants”.
Galloping drums herald the entrance of ‘Danish Pastry Lyrics’, a song that updates the morning routine of Blur’s Parklife for 2016, all twitchy self-loathing and existential woes:
“the first thing I can do
when I wake up in the morning on any given day is say hello
I am alive
but I do not do this
I stumble out of bed confused and upset
that the world exists
and so do I”
‘Lemonade’ has a sassy drumbeat and cooing vocals, a track that, at least at first glance, sounds more lo-fi pop than punk and probably the sunniest two and a half minutes on the album. ‘Barks Like a Dog’ opens in near silence, the almost a capella vocals creeping from the gloom, eventually climbing out and becoming increasingly frantic, with twanged guitar and crescendos of percussion and harmonic background vocals joining the desperate lead.
Then there’s a rumbling lo-fi take on Daniel Johnston’s ‘Walking the Cow’, Margolin’s disaffected vocals adding a hefty does of irony compared to Johnston’s signature childlike croon, and ‘Can U Hear Me Now?’, an epic seven-plus minutes of clattering catharsis, descending into the album’s heaviest moments as Margolin repeats the same lines over and over, by the end in little more than a howl.
“I am talking to you
I wish you were here
Can you hear me now?”
‘Sorry’ is a lo-fi pop song about finding yourself at the bottom of a hole (“There’s one hundred ways of dealing with this shit / but I think i’ve only got the energy to cry”), while ‘worms’ sounds a lot brighter, at least on the surface, and ‘And I Was Like’ is a messy and fun pop song about birthday girls in birthday worlds and cringing at your mother when she get her genre labels mixed up. Closer ‘Eurgh’ snakes into life, a soft love song which gradually builds into something less than romantic, the refrain of “don’t be a jerk” repeated a few times too many for the narrator as she tries to erect a barrier between herself and her would-be other
“Don’t touch me I’m afraid of feelings rushing back in
God knows you know how to make me feel like shit and
God knows I know how to make myself feel sick and
God knows how long it took me to get over it”