Porches: Ricky Music (Domino) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Ricky Music


Mar 13, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Aaron Maine describes Porches as his “public diary.” Porches’ music, at its best, captures a sort of intimate beauty drawing from Maine’s deepest joys and heartbreaks. Maine has shown himself willing to follow his muse to explore new corners of synth pop, be it danceable pop beats or opaque and cyclical production experiments. This approach can pay off beautifully in some cases, but other paths seem like musical dead ends. Similarly, on Ricky Music, Maine’s public diary shows flashes of brilliance, but these are all too often lost in songs lacking in structure or substance.

The high points of the album offer a voyeuristic look into Maine’s mind, coupled with dreamy synth pop. The single, “Do U Wanna,” is one of the best examples of this mood. The imperfections in Maine’s vocal delivery work to his advantage wonderfully, creating a longing and melancholy tone. The percussive beats and sharp cowbell add flair to the instrumental, as Maine almost seems to challenge himself to dance and move out of isolation. Later in the album, “Madonna” brings the energy up with one of Porches’ most danceable tracks. The contrast between the beat that drives the song and Maine’s languid vocals works quite well. On the chorus, the glistening synth tones and backing vocals from none other than Mitski make for one of the best pop tracks Maine has written. These high points are fully realized and give space for Maine’s production and songwriting to shine.

Sadly, the quality songs on Ricky Music are brought down significantly by the weaker points on the tracklist. One of the primary issues is that several of these songs lack structure. “PFB” is one of the worst offenders. It starts strong with a driving guitar-centric instrumental that stands out nicely within the tracklist. Yet, the song does nothing with this change and ends after 33 seconds of repeating the same two lines over and over. While shorter tracks acting as transitional periods are nothing new, this song adds very little and feels akin to wasted time on an already short album. Album closer “Wrote Some Songs” is also tragically underwritten. The lyrical concept is excellent as Maine reflects on whether his music will be a worthy legacy after his death. However, at a little over one minute, the song once again seems to finish before it ever gets a chance to get started. Moments such as this run rife throughout much of the album. Many songs feel unfinished and abruptly end as if Maine did not write an ending to them. It even brings down otherwise solid tracks such as “Hair.”

A public diary is an apt description of Porches’ music. The ideas on Ricky Music can, at times, seem messy, incomplete, and sparse. As a single artistic statement, the flaws are hard to overlook. Yet, it also has intensely personal moments of revelatory beauty. If the listener is willing to look past the weaker elements, the standout tracks on Ricky Music can make it a worthwhile listen. (www.porchesmusic.com)

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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