REVIEW: Every Bad - Porridge Radio
Strictly speaking, this is not the first LP collection of songs released by Porridge Radio, with 2016’s Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers preceding it. But just as siblings like to one-up each other, this label LP debut represents a leap forwards in ambition and scale from its excellent but low-fi older sister and can be considered the bands first fully fledged album.
On Every Bad, singer-song writer Dana Morgolin’s unique voice is irrepressible and urgent, sometimes vulnerable, sometimes feverish and agitated; always expressive and affecting. This is intertwined with post-punk guitar and rhythms, bass and percussion which drives the songs forward, and wonderfully accompanied by Georgie Stott’s keys and backing-vocal harmonies.
Every Bad brings a sense of tension and fragility. Lyrically and thematically, there are explorations of the complexities of relationships, self-talk, worry and anxieties. Which could all so easily have led to a bleak listening experience, were it not for the very relatable defiance and determination by the songs various protagonists to reach for a resolution even though, as is often the case in life of course, this is not always fully realised. There is also a wit and charm here, along with a healthy dose of tenacious hooks and bittersweet pop melodies; at times cranked right up to the point of breaking to be satisfyingly built back up again.
This is no truer than on Sweet - a quiet-loud-quiet, faintly sinister and tangled web of a song whose central character reports her mother’s perception that ‘…I look like a nervous wreck, because I bite my nails right down to the flesh’, ‘…because of the way I treat my body’, and which is brought by the band to a feverish end with many questions unanswered.
Long, meanwhile, relates the futility of a going-nowhere relationship, from both perspectives, and the frustration and strength required to move on - all backed by driving riffs and drums.
And the standout Pop Song, is beautiful but almost mournful - with feelings of separation and a lack of belonging bringing a sense of anxiety which is alleviated somewhat by its expression, but not quite resolved.
This is the case for much of Every Bad, with this band refusing to sugar coat or resort to beginning-middle-and-happily-ever-after-endings storytelling; preferring instead to express all of life’s realities - albeit with an eye on a melody and a hook along the way.
This is a wonderful debut-proper from Porridge Radio that really delivers, through a maturing sound and striking and engaging vocal performance.
Sadly circumstances have of course prevented any touring this album following a number of in-stores shortly before release. But this is a band who have the potential to deliver barnstorming live performances, so hopefully that will be possible for the Brighton four-piece soon.
Every Bad is the March //HAPPY on the INSIDE// Album of the month.
Every Bad is out now via Secretly Canadian.