PORRIDGE RADIO – ” Every Bad ” Best Albums Of 2020

Posted: December 19, 2020 in Classic Albums, MUSIC
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Dana Margolin really has a way with words. She likes to roll them ’round and ’round until the meaning flakes off and there’s nothing but feeling left. With their debut record five years in the making, the Brighton collective provided us with an unusual take on somewhat-anachronistic indie, shaped by Dana Margolin’s quaking, often unpredictable vocal delivery. All the memorable peaks on “Every Bad” are characterized by Margolin’s unreliable insistence that, say, “everything’s fine,” while the jarring opener climaxes and ebbs with the repeated, impossibly tense line “Thank you for making me happy.” I don’t think you could possibly adapt the “This is fine.” meme more fluently into song writing.

As many of us have followed them around for years, we predicted big things for these Brighton locals but we never suspected they had something quite this special in them.

Songwriter Dana Margolin’s vulnerability has been her constant strength and despite the nuanced and difficult subjects she takes on in her songs, she’s always had some level of lo-fi production or guitar fuzz to shield her, thanks to the bedroom pop genesis of most of these tracks. however, on ‘every bad’, she unabashedly centres herself and the result is astounding. That’s not to say that the guitar fuzz and lo-fi production have vanished – far from it in fact. ‘Every Bad’ takes cues from nirvana, who mastered underpinning anxiety with abrasion, raincoats in their tendency to twist, turn and change a song without warning and pixies in their ability to turn the aggression of grunge into a diverse and supple sound. so yes, they are clearly inspired by the bands of their youth but on these familiar foundations, something uniquely dynamic has been built. the jagged instrumentation complements dana’s rugged vocals and authentic lyrics perfectly, matching the mood of each song and manoeuvring effortlessly to enhance a lyricist who tackles sensitive, esoteric and existential subjects.

On opener “Born Confused” the singer chants “Thank you for making me happy” for a minute and a half. It starts off a little wistful, then genuine. With about 40 seconds left the edges start to wobble and the mantra becomes a frenzied wash of anguish. By the time the song cuts out, mid-sentence, it sounds like an accusation, if not an attack.

She told Apple Music that the track “captures the feeling of frustration and trying to figure things out”, which is maybe the core of Every Bad. It’s full of direct contradictions, cocksure one second and confused the next. It does an incredible job of transmitting the anxiety of being in your mid-20s. I’m an adult, why am I still adrift? “Oh, I don’t know what I want/But I know what I want/Oh, I don’t know what I want/But…”. Despite this vulnerability, dana never softens her edges or compromises in her lyrics. her pronounced and very forthright uncertainty and confusion comes across as defined and unflinching – the only thing she can be certain of is that confusion. this is not music that moralises or offers answers to life’s big questions – it is here to express raw emotional response with no interest in resolution.
That refusal to offer an easy way out is what makes it both so personal and so relatable. we may not have experienced the same situations, but we’ve felt those same nameless, onerous emotions. these guttural anthems amass into a defining album that’s burst them out of their established Brighton bubble, got them mercury nominated and has firmly planted them in hearts everywhere.

‘Sweet’ by Porridge Radio, taken from their forthcoming album Every Bad released in March . The DIY Brighton outfit were called ‘slacker indie’ when they released their first full album. “Every Bad” shows that description had more to do with the garage they recorded it in than their motivation.

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