The House

Non-Airable Tracks: 
Domino Recording Co.
Album Art: 

Porches, an American synth-pop band, followed up their well-received sophomore album Pool (2016), with their latest record The House. The House starts off with Leave This House, a groovy and relatively upbeat synth pop track. This however is not indicative of the project as a whole because the majority of tracks on this album are much slower and introspective. Songs like Country and Goodbye give a better feel for the album as a whole, an album that is extremely dreary, and introspective into the emotions following heartbreak.

 The House captures these emotions with incredible production. It often feels as if the lyrics and vocals are meant to support the production, due to the fact that the instrumentals are much more effective at conveying the emotions and feelings of the songs. This can be seen in songs like Wobble and W Longing, both of which have underwhelming vocal performances however are redeemed by the haunting and yet ethereal production. Wobble effectively uses chimey guitars and driving syths to generate the feeling of regret, like a pit in your stomach, while W Longing adds a sultry saxophone to the already atmospheric synth to create a beautiful sound. The pinnacle of this albums production however comes on the track Goodbye. Goodbye opens with a beautiful chord progression on piano followed Aaron Maine haunting, elongated vocals that nestle perfectly within this track. As the song progresses, Maine’s vocals reach into his upper register and are accompanied by groovy synth and punchy drums. This culminates in the high point of the album, a track that seems to shed the dreary feeling that is interwoven into almost every song on this album, in favor of a more optimistic and triumphant feel. Country, a short and hollow song, captures the overall feeling of the album, however is too short and lacks any significant zing to make it the best track on the record. Regardless of its short length, it is a highlight due to the excellent production.

Although the album has fantastic instrumentals, it does have a major blemish, that being the vocal performance of Aaron Maine. His lack of range and overall charisma makes some of the tracks hard to listen to. I found the use of the autotune on tracks like Anymore and Wobble unappealing. However, his vocals fit well into some of the aforementioned tracks like Country and Goodbye. I am left wanting more on songs like Ono and Anything U Want. Maine’s emotionless and gloomy vocals don’t lend themselves well on tracks that I believe should be teeming with emotion. The vocals do however fit well with the lyrics. Succinct and simplistic, the lyrics provide support to the production. Throughout the duration of the album, there are many examples of the symbolic use of water. Water is used to convey different aspects of heartbreak ranging from a rebirth and renewal from relationship like a baptism, using water as a metaphor for alcohol and drowning ones’ sorrows, and even to compare the feeling of loneliness to the physical feeling of  laying at the bottom of a pool. Overall, I found the water creative and intriguing way to show the emotions proceeding a breakup.

Altogether, The House is a solid synth-pop album that delves into themes of loneliness and the struggles to overcome heartbreak. Although the vocal performance lacks any significant punch, the production on this album is enough to warrant a listen. I’m feeling a light 7 on this album. 

Sounds Like: 
Frankie Cosmos
Sounds Like: 
Real Estate
Sounds Like: 
TV Girl
Sounds Like: 
Marika Hackman
Recommended Tracks: 
Find Me: catchy synth pop **
Country: short, haunting, gave me goose bumps ***
By My Side: atmospheric, nice lyrics **
Goodbye: skeletal use of piano & sythns was excellent ****
W Longing: saxophone outro is a nice touch *
Michael Jepson
Date Reviewed: