Returning with their third album and the first on Brighton independent label Faux Discx, UK band Dignan Porch reassert themselves as one of the more mesmeric and tantalising psychedelically wrapped indie pop incitements around. Observatory is a captivating collection of lo-fi presented, resourcefully sculpted songs which flirt and then simply run with the imagination. The release is an aural nest egg, an honest escape and comfort to fall back on in times of stress and just when you want good, heart bred music.
Starting out as a one man project for Joseph Walsh, Dignan Porch has evolved into a healthy complement of inventive and expressive musicians creating similarly potent music. The new album follows the well-received Tendrils of 2010 and Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen two years later, both released on the New York label Captured Tracks. Written and predominantly recorded in a cold and noisy flat above a used-carpet shop in South London in 2013, where Joe was living, Observatory is a seductive breeze of DIY invention and care. It has an intimacy which caresses the listener whilst providing the unpredictability and insight of life’s emotions, an often shadowed and dark sadness which entwines with the open radiance of the songs. Of the few tracks recorded differently to the almost jigsaw like piecing together of parts elsewhere, these were recorded as a full band in the moment with Henry Withers at Sound Savers studio. It all makes for a compelling and ultimately enchanting proposition but one with a raw and dirty edge which just as strikingly shapes the release into the triumph it is.
A rhythmic trap catches the ears first as opener Forever Unobscured enters the eye line, the percussive bait instantly gripping attention and an already awakening appetite. It is soon joined by the slightly mischievous and again wholly magnetic keys of Hayley Akins, which in turn is swiftly courted by the moody tones of Ben Goodwin’s bass and the guitar maze of Joseph and his brother Sam Walsh. It is a mouthwatering mix to which the mellow yet sultry vocals lay seductively, whilst around it all a fiery temperament and energy brews to further inflame the imagination. It is an engrossing start which the brilliant Deep Deep Problem takes to another level. It is the perfect pop song, hooks and melodies courting sirenesque harmonies by Joseph and Hayley as they take thoughts and emotions by the hand and lead them into an infectious waltz. There is a rich sixties psychedelic pop essence to the breath-taking union of guitars and keys which is punctuated by the roaming beats of Luke Walsh, but also a feel of psyc. It is a gorgeous encounter which tempts and abrases perfectly.
The acoustically crafted Veil of Hze strokes ears next, the hollow wrapped vocals a haunting enticement in an emotive embrace, before the wonderful discord kissed No Lies toys with the senses through smouldering keys and deliciously jangly guitar coaxing. Like vortices of sonic wind and vocal sun, the song laps over the senses simultaneously igniting passions with quirky grooves and quaintly cast invention. It is a seductive beauty which sparks a new hunger in the appetite which was less effusive with its predecessor, and just as vibrantly Between the Trees brings a seventies garage pop croon to bear on ears and heart for similar effect. It is a short bounce of a song but one which in its brief presence has the listener tightly gripped and subservient.
The start of Wait & Wait & Wait is excellent; a warped cartoonish lure which turns out to sadly be a false start in the entrance of the song. It is a shame as it would have made an irresistible start to the track. Nevertheless the song without admittedly drawing the same strength of reactions still provides a highly satisfying and elegant friendship before the punk infused crawl of Harshed and the minimalistic call of I Plan to Come Back bring the passions back to the boil. The first of the two strolls with a sultry swagger and Birdland like causticity in its melodic shimmering whilst its successor is a lean bordering on anorexic sonic web of humid melodies and streamline drama encased in a melancholic mist. The song absorbs the imagination like a sponge, inspiring fresh adventure as it expands its celestial colours.
Through the likes of the more than decently attractive Dinner Tray and the beefy evocative of Warm Welcome to Hell, the album continues to firmly engage if not quite finding that incendiary spark of before, though that fuse is soon lit again by the outstanding Got to Fly. Like in the opening song, a rhythmic enticement brings initial slavery before guitars paint thoughts with sonic hues as vocals push forward the developing addictive canvas of the song for a greater feisty bewitchment. It is a tremendous provocation before the final mellow sunset of Swing By, a soothing encounter enriched with varied emotive shades and acidic melodic veining. The song makes a fine end to Observatory, an excellent immersive closing which lingers and wraps the listener impressively.
Dignan Porch has crafted the perfect companion for sullen moments in heat bred summer nights with Observatory, an enticing vehicle through which explorations of evocative realms and personal corners bring a wealthy dose of pleasure.
Observatory is available now on 12” vinyl LP and digital download @ http://fauxdiscx.bandcamp.com/album/observatory
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