Pool was released earlier this year by New York-based electro-indie band, Porches. When listening to this album, I’m amazed at how much this artist has evolved since the folky-indie-garage rock style of his first album, Slow Dance in the Cosmos.
Pool definitely embraces Porches’ indie-electronic side, as all the tracks are heavily synthesized. The album crafted by frontman Aaron Maine also features frequent supporting vocals from singer/songwriter and girlfriend, Frankie Cosmos. Maine’s distinctive soft and low voice is at times auto-tuned, although personally I prefer his uninhibited voice.
The album opens with probably their most popular and one of my favorite tracks, “Underwater,” which sets the tone for the album with dreamy electronics and vocals. While tracks like “Braid,” “Pool” and “Be Apart,” are easily danceable, “Mood” and “Even the Shadow” are slower and more akin to electro-dream-pop. And then there are tracks that fully embrace electronic dance music like “Shape,” which features a single vocal line, synth counter-melody and steady high percussion. The ’80’s influence in Pool is also present in “Car” and “Glow” which are more straightforward indie-rock, and less electronic, perhaps showing a glimpse of Maine’s musical roots.
Regardless of the style of the song, Maine demonstrates an ability to create interesting hooks and instrumentation across the depth that is Pool. It only took me one listen to get hooked on this album…there is really something for every mood represented. Slow, fast, dance, sway, feel. While there really isn’t a track that I “don’t like” I’d have to say the standouts for me are “Be Apart” with its driving drum and bass line and unpredictable vocals, as well as “Car,” with its driving beat, which to me sounds like a slowed down punk song. I love the instrumental bridge in the guitar and the crescendoing second guitar and bass that come in promptly.
I’m glad to have had the opportunity to watch Porches perform live, as I really got a sense of Maine’s character, which is quite introspective, intense, and delightfully strange. To me, the preface of Pool is what it would feel like to first be immersed in water and then come out on the other side…what might that feel like? Exhilarating at first, leaving you slightly breathless, then cold, maybe unsure of what just happened, wanting to flee, and then realizing you’re exactly where you need to be. Dive in here: