“The quiet ones are who you should worry about.” An acquaintance once told me this so I could acknowledge the dangers of both extroverts and introverts. Sure, there are some people who will invade your space in their conquest to get to know you, but there are also those who have hidden so much from the world, sometimes wanting to conquer it in the worst ways. But you’ll never know that until the end–or until they decide to speak.
Or in Aaron Maine’s case–sing.
Under the moniker Porches, Maine is open without being open. He tells his genuine anxieties and disposition toward isolation without giving his life story. For this New York City-based Electronic musician, there is a space that exists around him–yes–but what matters is how high up he is in his complex, fictional or not, and the pool. He isn’t a narcissist who stares at his reflection, nor does Maine feel like the person who swims until his body turns into a prune. In his poolside domain, he and partner in crime, Greta Kline, don’t combat adversities as much as wallow in them. To several, the sound of Pool is incessant and whiny, with the pairing of autotune creating a mix of terror akin to a science fair gone wrong. But to those willing to open up to such tones, the tiny, active bits of emotion and ’70s electronics make the swim to the other side half worth it.
Pool is honest to goodness music meant to sound chilled out through Maine’s out-of-body presence and calming electronic mood. “Braid” notes how Maine is living his life like he’s watching it through a camera lens, while “Hour” hovers around how getting stoned is akin to floating on water, thinking about someone, a lovely her not belonged to him. Whether or not he’s singing about how physically motionless he is, Maine can’t help but feel like his world is on standby, and moving toward his love is what will get him forward. Though it might feel like it at times, Pool is in no way a ’70s love letter, though its relaxing synths can be considered lounge-worthy and fitting of the time.
The feeling of lounges and pools can be attributed to the shades of blue and white the electronics try to convey in their sonic galaxy. Tracks like “Mood,” “Underwater,” and “Shaver” dazzle with their slow dance movements, making rooms they strike feel like planetariums, ones with a lengthy stretch of water to jump into. The latter track, in its implementation of a sax solo shows an arbitrary addition that would make sense if built up to through the track listing. Apart from an ever-present bass and constantly relaxing electronics, the sax is out of the blue and provides flexibility too late.
Contrivances within this record depend on its listener. Those up in arms against autotune will find its addition–though sometimes helpful–to be grating to the ears. That said, the use of such a tuning isn’t liberal, finding its way on tracks like “Pool” and “Security” in a fashion that attempts to find its grace. Yes, the tuning does have a foothold, but for some with fully entrenched opinions, autotune might add up with Maine’s “whining” to feel petulant. Yet it’s with a track like “Be Apart” that notices this petulance as something nearly invisible. Maine is genuinely yearning to be in the middle of cocktail parties, but he doesn’t want to be histrionic. It’s how he crafts his sadness that should matter most, and with the comparison of Frankie Cosmos, it’s clear that he handles the drift of isolation well. Yes, he’s non-enthused (“Car”), but it’s because he’s been waiting for love to throw an olive branch that will never come.
Pool is a fair record that would impact well atop a condo with a rooftop swimming pool. The sound of Maine’s voice becomes warped inside the water, but his pulsing colours can be felt as he caresses you into the deep.
Dustin Ragucos is a writer of things fictional, poetic, and musical. His main loves include Death Grips and Indie music. Dustin’s blog is host to a weekly blurb about albums old and new.