Review Summary: All Day Great Album !
Porches albums tend to be scatterbrained messes of different ideas and aesthetics held together by Aaron Maines flamboyant lyrics and personality. The only LP to date that feels like a cohesive project from start to end is the 2016 effort Pool. From Underwater to Security, it feels like a journey. Each track uses the same synths and guitars, the same drum machines, some tracks even sound like alternate versions of the song preceding it. It remains to date the highest rated Porches LP, and appears to be their most popular release with fans. The House is less together but still stands up next to it’s predecessor and Ricky Music is so all over the place it may as well be a compilation of b-sides.
All Day Gentle Hold is somewhat a return to form for Aaron Maine. The albums themes and ideas meld together, the instrumentation and aesthetic carries through each track, and it feels like an album rather than some .mp3 files thrown into a tumble dryer. The music itself is “heavier” than anything Porches have previously done, it feels much more raw and aggressive than the warm summery synths of Pool and the indie pop sensibilities of The House. The production quality is harsher, it’s much less a polished pop record than it is a punk album. Aarons vocal inflections remain the same, which for many is the downside of Porches. His singing is at times so flat and half asleep, but this is a part of Porches appeal. His vocals and lyrics ooze personality, and his music truly feels like it was written and performed in his bedroom. Lines like “Tony / Tony Soprano / I’m making me heard / I eat my dinner / I eat my dessert” are so left field and bizarre and yet it fits so well with Aarons writing style.
Much of this album was written through the global pandemic, and the album reflects this. Many tracks contain references to isolation, and the loss of connection with family and friends, particularly the lead single I Miss That. This all adds to the homemade aesthetic of Porches music, which is the one single trait that has carried through their entire discography.
The standout track on All Day Gentle Hold is its closing song “Comedown Song (Gunk)”. It’s such a catchy track, and it’s a sound more reminiscent of Slowdance in the Cosmos, a sound Porches haven’t revisited since the albums release. The lyrics reference the character Julie, a name referenced many times in Aarons lyrics along with Ricky, which helps this album fit in with the rest of their work despite it’s sound being almost the polar opposite of everything that came before it.
All Day Gentle Hold is a truly wonderful effort from Aaron Maine (and co). It is a testament to his ability to write soft warm music that feels comfortable, despite how harsh and rough this LP is around the edges. People yearning for a return to the sound of Pool or The House will be disappointed, and likely will continue to be, but Aaron is forging his own musical path and it will be interesting to see where he takes it next.