Wednesday, February 8, 2012

REVIEW: Porcelain Raft - Strange Weekend

Grade: 84% (B)

I've dug myself into the trenches of the ambient/chillwave/synth pop genres in the past half a year or so. I've found myself fond of Washed Out, Neon Indian, M83, and countless other groups representing those genres. While they each have their own unique sound to them, I have discovered that Mauro Remiddi, the only member of Porcelain Raft, is the one of the best representatives of the brands as a whole. 

Remiddi himself refers to his music as "sleepwalking pop," which I can understand entirely. I could sleep with this album on repeat for days on end. It is that relaxing. However, in the same vein it has some very dance-ish elements to it. Recorded entirely by Remiddi himself, Strange Weekend is put together in the most optimum of fashions. The music is shaped around rhythms and strong synths while many songs feature acoustic guitar work that perfectly heightens the passive mood of the record.

His vocals and the samples of other vocals take a minor role yet he sings with sincere feelings. He touches on emotions we can all recount on the appropriately titled, "Unless You Speak From the Heart." On "Put Me to Sleep," a breezy track whose pulsating vibes might as well sooth you so a slumber, he sings 'did you tell your friends how much you miss them?' 

This earnestness is found throughout the album and is reminiscent of those lyricists/vocalists you grew up with. With further thought, there is somewhat of a James Murphy attitude going on here. It's as if he's a one man team writing about whatever he wants and evoking it with whatever music he wants. He has no rules and doesn't care what people think about his music. Instead, he's just making it because it's what he loves to do. 

This music is soothing and deep and certainly heartfelt. Along side Trevor Powers of Youth Lagoon, Remiddi is certainly the closest thing to a one man show like that of James Murphy that we have today. While he certainly isn't up to Murphy's level, this album certainly sticks out in a genre which is full of many like it. Much like those similar records, this one wraps you in it's warmth while making you think about it's real emotional depth. 

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