Release Date: Mar 13, 2020
Record label: Secretly Canadian
"Thank you for making me happy", repeats Porridge Radio's Dana Margolin on 'Every Bad' opener 'Born Confused', a sentiment which unsettlingly spirals from its initial whimsical delivery into a pained, otherworldly caterwaul. It sets the tone for a record that never really presents itself as either fully happy or miserable, treading the dense grey area that floats between the two. Dana's vocal snarls jar against the startling music, itself conjuring a nightmarish atmosphere that plays with both the record's raw feel and its many dramatic climaxes.
"I'm bored to death let's argue" is the very first line of the record, and it immediately sets up the tempestuous personality that's going to be leading the listener through this collection of bruised rockers. It's Margolin's towering presence that becomes the focus of Porridge Radio 's music, and there's no doubt that she makes a compelling leader. This is largely thanks to her vocals, which can effortlessly sweep from hopeless dreamer to unimpressed pessimist to infuriated rebel; melodic singing to lip-curled sneer to full-throated growl.
When Dana Margolin repeats her lyrics like incantations--"I am charming, I am sweet," "I'm bored to death, let's argue," "You will like me when you meet me"--it can be hard to gauge whether she wants to believe these facts, or decimate them with irony. This is among the frictions that power Every Bad, the sometimes twisted, often transcendent, always incendiary album from the Brighton four-piece Porridge Radio. The band's once-minimal sound--reminiscent, back in 2015, of Frankie Cosmos' witty Bandcamp-as-diary style--has scaled colossally, transforming into a fever dream that lifts every song.
Porridge Radio vocalist Dan Margolin can make even the most mundane internal monologue sound awe-inspiring. On the Brighton band's opening track, Born Confused, Margolin uses repetition effectively to exorcise the feelings she's bottled up for far too long. "Thank you for leaving me/thank you for making me happy," she repeats with increasing intensity, droning on and on much like the anxieties that fail to escape our thoughts.
Porridge Radio have not only written the album of their careers but possibly of the year too. Their new project 'Every Bad' is full of the catchy songs that are overflowing with lo-fi ramshackle post-punk guitars and uplifting vocals. And if that wasn't enough to make you fall in love with this rickety quartet wait until you hear the lyrics. Dana Margolin sings of love, loss, redemption, and most importantly, inclusion like no other.
Towards the end of Porridge Radio's twitchy, terrific Every Bad, singer Dana Margolin trades her jaded snark for something more earnest. "I don't want us to get bitter, I want us to get better," she sings over and over on the hazy storm of 'Lilac'. "I want us to be kinder to ourselves and to each other." The gracious credo is all the more remarkable given the raw nerves she exposes on the Brighton band's fraught, restless new album, which pokes and prods at the melodic bittersweet-spot between post-punk, indie-rock and dream-pop.
P orridge Radio frontwoman Dana Margolin recently gave an interview to the NME that took its headline from one of her quotes: "I've always known that we're the best band in the world. " Margolin went on to suggest the current burst of interest in her band was woefully belated ("Obviously we're really good and we know it … where have you been?") and that their destiny lay in performing to arenas and sports stadiums around the world: "I wanna be Coldplay, obviously. " This swaggering bravado is standard practice from a certain kind of alt-rock band.