Aaron Maine’s synth-pop feel has graced the universe again through the release of his latest album, The House.
His 2016 album and Domino Records debut, Pool, conveys isolation and introspection as the lead singer of Porches flawlessly intertwines melancholy with subtle pop hooks to create an aura that is equally forlorn as it is consoling.
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Riding on the praise from his sophomore effort, Porches showcases his ability to maintain his audience’s emotional satisfaction. Ardently devoted to voicing his internal monologue, the album focuses on his struggle with romantic woes.
On first listen, the indication of a love lost is evident in several tracks, but it’s only when the last track plays that you come to the realization that this album is exclusively devoted to Maine’s own trials and tribulations.
The album’s fourteen tracks feature contributions by (Sandy) Alex G, Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes, Okay Kaya’s Kaya Wilkins, Jason Arce, Bea1991 and Maine’s own father, Peter Maine.
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Album opener “Leave the House” is reminiscent of the finest parts of Pool, recalling the same spirit as “Underwater” and “Mood.” Yet, it seems almost incomplete as the track ends before it actualizes.
“Find Me” is the most notable track on the album. It stands as a prime example of Porches’ honed craft of pairing increasingly experimental arrangements with pensive lyrics. While Maine’s vocals moan about his inner turmoil, the track flaunts powerful syncopated bass runs and quickly becomes a number you can’t forget.
“Akeren,” while short, is sultrily sung in Norwegian and allows for a necessary break in between Maine’s intentionally empty vocals.
His flair for disco pop is distinct in “Anymore” as his vocals are elegantly auto-tuned. Maine flatly croons on about his tepid desire to be heard.
Closing with “Anything U Want,” Porches is as airy as ever as he continues to explore his key themes of despondency and yearning to be understood. The track borders on overkill as Maine overindulges his anxieties.
All the tracks exhibit his signature ’80’s synth, but Maine’s creative growth feels static. The same artistic capability seen in his two previous albums present themselves, but this album doesn’t feel like a third installment, rather a somewhat superfluous addition to Pool.
While Maine’s intentions in “capturing a song the day it was conceived” are pure, it leaves the album lacking overall cohesiveness. Unfortunately, it is this mindset that forces the album as a whole to feel rather unfinished.
The tracks exist as singular snippets into Maine’s psyche, feeling more like snapshots rather than a feature film. While the tracks are haunting and remarkable on their own, the album rambles with fragments such as “Akeren,” and “Swimmer” which barely skims more than a minute and a half.
But the album doesn’t feel rushed. The progression of Porches’ sound is significant. From “Slow Dance in the Cosmos” to “The House,” it’s evidence of an artist grappling with his identity and it directly translates into his artistic endeavors.
The album is Porches’ homage to himself and his process of self-discovery. He has yet to wring his creativity dry which bodes well for his fourth album, but he needs to step out of himself instead of diving in.