Text: Shannon van Eis

It’s quite a challenge to make a breakthrough. But when that breakthrough happens during a pandemic, awareness of it recedes a little. Two years after the release of ‘Every Bad’, Brighton-based Porridge Radio releases ‘Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky’. A record with a strong coherence of different emotions, lined with lyrics that stem from the existential anxiety of life and the world that surrounds it. The album cover is inspired by the artwork of artist Eileen Agar.

Anyway, ‘Back To The Radio.’ A dynamic opening track with a build-up that then shatters into a powerful ending. Front woman Dana Margolin describes this song as a grand introductory ‘hello’ or a grand ceremonial farewell. Lock all the windows, and shut all the doors. Get into the house and lie down on the cold hard floor.’ Fascinating, but also compelling because of its layered structure. In ‘Trying’, ‘What if?’ questions are asked repeatedly. ‘What if it feels like nothing at all?’

‘I was in your dream last night, I came to tell you everything’. ‘Rotten’ is a melancholic combination of synthesizers and guitars with vocals that in a way resemble Big Thief. We also hear this in ‘U Can Be Happy If U Want To’. The fragility of Margolin’s voice gives away that emotions and honesty play a big role. ‘The Rip’ is accompanied by a heavy bass line that almost feels like the ‘heartaches’ in the lyrics. Raw, sensitive and realistic.

In that way, ‘Back To The Radio’ shows that the band has once again made a strong album. An experimental process in which the young protagonist tries to find out what love and life is all about. Most importantly, it involves self-acceptance.

Secretly Canadian

Photo credit: Matilda Hill-Jenkins