Home » Culture » Album Assessment: Porridge Radio, ‘Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky’

Album Assessment: Porridge Radio, ‘Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky’


If Each Dangerous was proof of something, it’s that no one summons catharsis like Porridge Radio. Most bands deal with it like a remaining vacation spot, the all-consuming feeling a group of music has to reach at if it’s to serve any sort of grand function. However for the Vivid-based four-piece, led by Dana Margolin, it’s extra like a ceaseless wave, by turns perplexing and purifying because it spins out into one thing no much less unpredictable than the chaos it’s presupposed to upend. With their sophomore album, which arrived simply days after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, Porridge Radio appeared to have mastered their dynamic capabilities after years of placing out understated, introspective indie rock. Two years later, having reached what’s certainly the purest type of collective launch with the climactic mantra of 2020’s ‘Lilac’, you would possibly anticipate them to have shifted their focus completely. Both its torrent of hope was sufficient to comb away all of the uncertainty, or the time had come to think about a unique path altogether.

Judging from the feverish feelings that Margolin obsesses over on Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky, that’s not what ended up taking place. As an alternative, the band appears extra conscious about their distinctive means to show a crescendo into not only a supply of uplift however its personal disorienting journey. Quite than wallowing in self-pity and despair, they do what they do finest – strive turning it right into a mantra – and, with none expectation that this effort will bear its fruit, lean into it with extra intention than earlier than. You get why stadium acts like Coldplay and pop stars like Charli XCX had been influences in the course of the making of the album – sonically in addition to spiritually, it reaches for a similar sort of ambition, however emotionally it retains spiraling inward, not letting itself be elevated by something apart from what’s actually on the core. “I would like one feeling on a regular basis/I don’t need to really feel a factor,” Margolin howls on ‘Birthday Social gathering’, encapsulating the band’s ethos.

This distinction results in an album that’s each bit as fascinating and much more fully-realized than Each Dangerous. You’ll nonetheless hear the phrase “unhealthy” throughout it as Margolin interrogates her self-image, however you even have a lead single and opening monitor defiantly titled ‘Again to the Radio’ and a transcendent second in ‘U Can Be Completely satisfied If U Need To’ that revolves across the phrase “again,” one in every of many cases the place repetition each intensifies and strips a lyric of its unique which means. After all, it’s just a few tracks earlier that Margolin sings “I don’t wanna be liked” roughly 100 instances, so the perfect of happiness seems fairly unattainable. “I don’t imagine in something,” she declares, the sentiment echoed by her bandmates as they be a part of alongside – and the transformative energy of a rousing anthem is clearly no exception. “Do you keep in mind once we all fell aside?/ On the finish of final 12 months,” she asks initially of ‘Finish of Final Yr’, a self-described “love music for my bandmates and for myself,” earlier than admitting, “I at all times break my very own coronary heart.” This penchant for destruction solely turns into extra pronounced because the music swells in direction of its conclusion: “Have you learnt/ You break all the pieces you contact?”

However for all its unwavering pressure, the character of Porridge Radio’s songwriting stays triumphantly open-ended, and the album sees the band embracing this high quality with a way of curiosity and function. It’s maybe why they sound extra comfy tackling quieter songs like ‘Flowers’ and the title monitor, that are as weak however extra well-defined and evocative than their earlier work, much less reliant on anticipating the following huge sing-along. For Margolin, the primary two elements of the album’s title symbolize pleasure (Waterslide) and worry (Diving Board), and Porridge Radio are as comfy resting as they’re pushing in opposition to that in-between area, whether or not it’s rife with battle or outlined by nothingness. The ladder is crucial metaphor, encompassing the lens by means of which Margolin processes essentially the most common and bizarre and uncontainable emotions: endlessness. Can we expertise catharsis with out absolutely being launched from worry and ache? To reply the query, Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky suggests, can be to interrupt the spell. You’ll be able to take a shot and see what occurs, although – in any case, what’s damaged can solely keep that approach for therefore lengthy.


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