Compared to his previous releases Pool and Slow Dance in the Cosmos, Aaron Maine’s project Porches shows simplicity and restraint in his latest electro-pop-driven album, The House. With this new chapter, in the majority of the tracks Maine ditches the auto-tune he picked up in Pool and favors his soulful, uninhibited vocals. While there are several forgettable tracks on the album, there are some stunners that I just can’t get enough of right now.
We see dance-forward songs that are undeniably Porches in “Anymore” with pounding, hollow bassline and an auto-tuned Maine. “Find Me” shares the same electro-pop feel, but is slightly more captivating as layers of synth are added atop the thumping line, and the melody feels much more intuitive. “Touch my neck and walk me home / And I’ll be fine once I’m alone / Just don’t let it find me,” Maine sings, no doubt giving listeners a relatable glimpse of his anxieties.
There are a couple of brief tracks like the Bon Iver sounding “Understanding” and the trembling, auto-tuned “Swimming” which features a jangly guitar to accompany the vocals, sans beat.
“Now The Water” has a clear ’80s vibe with dreamy synths, picking guitars and a driving beat, but doesn’t really evolve into anything all that interesting. Similarly, the longest track on the album “W Longing” has an ’80s, sultry feel to it but seems to get lost in a dreamy haze.
There are a couple standouts on the album, however, like the soulful, stunning “Country” which features a beautiful melody from Maine’s vocals as he starts the song almost acapella while the synth creeps in on a minor progression that fits in loosely but brilliantly with the vocals. The song crescendos subtly into a moment about a minute in adding in a higher-part harmony before the song just dissolves. In the final part, Maine sings, “Can you make it light / Can you do no harm / Break the water with your arms,” repeating the last verse to exit the song, brining to mind that feeling of being vulnerable with someone potentially special. At under two minutes long, it’ll leave you wanting more but with no choice than to just play it on repeat.
“Goodbye” also stands out as it starts similar to “Country” but adds an unexpectedly welcome soft but quick-moving bass part that fades in an out before the pop-y drum beat and wobbly synth ostinato join in for the rest of the track. “Ono” is dark and mysterious, starting with a warped minor arpeggio before adding a slow, pulsating drum beat. It’s no doubt the most “lo-fi” vibe song on the album. The closing song, “Anything U Want” has a pop-forward melody that’s stretched out over slow and low synths, fading with Maine’s declaration, “I love you,” before ending with background noises.
Overall, I was excited for another Porches album after thoroughly enjoying Pool. I must say though, that The House doesn’t really live up to the expectations Maine had set for the listeners in Pool or even Slow Dance In the Cosmos which were incredible front to back. However, The House is deserving of a listen, as you might find some hidden gems once you step inside.
Favorite tracks: Country, Goodbye, Ono
Take a listen: