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”

You can get Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers now on cassette or name your price download via Memorials of Distinction or the Porridge Radio Bandcamp page.

photograph of porridge radio cassettes