Porridge Radio, Every Bad, 2020, Secretly Canadian
1. Born Confused
3. Don't Ask Me Twice
6. Pop Song
11. Homecoming Song
Hailing from Brighton, indie rockers Porridge Radio formed in 2015. Every Bad is their second album, but their first on a label. It has been shortlisted for this year’s Mercury Music Prize.
The album opens with "Born Confused" which has a music-hall esque air about it. It’s an interesting start with a surprisingly abrupt ending and the lyrical repetition will be a feature of the album. "Sweet" is a loud-quiet-loud song with intense guitars. "Don't Ask Me Twice" has a melodic chorus but also puts me in mind of a Madness track, it’s a bit disjointed but still works somehow. "Long" has a strong 1980s cold synth sound. It’s the most commercial sounding track so far. "Nephews" has the purest of indie guitar intros, it’ll transport you right back to the mid-1990s. It’s the calmest and most straightforward song. "Pop Song" is not at all what its title suggests. It’s languid and unhurried. A perfect pause at the mid-point of the album. "Give/Take" only ups the tempo slightly but with the repetition at its height, it has the feel of a nursery rhyme. "Lilac" has a floaty quality which descends into a harsh garage punk ending. The repeated lines being shouted over the harsh instrumental before an abrupt ending makes the start of "Circle" with its wurlitzer piano sound like a complete surprise. Its fairground style melody seems perfectly pitched to support the lyrics about trying to fix problems and make things ok by sheer force of will alone. "(Something)" feels like the most poppy track because of its use of autotune, it’s robotic sound feels out of sync with the rest of the album though. "Homecoming Song" is also poppy but in a way that seems to fit better. It’s a beautiful track to close the album.
It’s an album that finds its themes firmly in the grey areas of life and this is what makes it interesting. The lyrical repetition throughout the album gives a lot of the lines much more significance than they would have if they were only sung once and helps you to understand the point vocalist Dana Margolin is trying to make, however it starts to feel a bit contrived when it’s done on every song. I enjoyed the album and it seems like the genesis of something special, I’d just love to hear a bit more diversity in the vocal delivery style. I’d be interested to see what direction they take in the future. The band plan to tour the UK in January, if that tour goes ahead, it will be worth checking out.