Electronica is a genre that is not always known for being something epic. This occurrence is often found in artists such as Aphex Twin, early Chemical Brothers, and, of course, Port Royal. What might make this Italian quartet so good, is their interesting mixture of various electronic styles, such as ambience, jungle, acid jungle, and techno, as well as the very obvious, post-rock, and even hints of classical. This sack of terms might seem overwhelming, but Port Royal easily pushes them together to make a rather smooth, but still sometimes breathtaking ride.
All in all, Port Royal base their music on slow, soothing beats instead of frantic beats that could be exciting, but could also be nauseating. That was obvious on their first release, Flares
. The album concentrated on un-complex, textural guitar lines and straightforward beats and rhythms. However, it still used crescendos and buildups, which gave it a post-rock edge, something most electronic acts didn't devise. With Afraid to Dance
, Port Royal moves on to a more danceable sound, with much more techno, even acid jungle beats to go along with their sweeping ambience. This is seen on the nine minute Decadence
, that uses hard drum beats that keeps the song alive, but with long synthesizers to layer the music.
That said, the album still often brings about ambient pieces. What makes it unique is not only the distant sound of acoustic guitars, but the slow, drowning drum beat that is still used for the energetic pieces. The only problem with this combination is that it combines so well that at times, it's almost impossible to decipher between the two different types of songs. Tracks like the beautiful distorted Pauline Bokur
, however, keep the variety with a ambient beat ringing behind the track, but don’t take the album off track. The ending track, Attorney Very Bad
(aka the Worst[b], is another incredible track, that could leave you gaping for several minutes at the soundscapes and ringing synthesizers, that sound like clean line of feedback
Like many post-rock and electronic albums, Afraid to Dance can be a dull, even repetitive record. Some of the music sounds great for a first listen, but then it could become slightly nauseating after repeated listens. But usually, the immense amount of styles that are piled on send the music vortexed into a rather exhilarating ride when the mind is at ease.