Porridge Radio – Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky (2022) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Porridge Radio – Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 43:56 minutes | 884 MB | Genre: Indie Rock, Female Vocal
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Secretly Canadian

When Porridge Radio’s Dana Margolin, one of the most vital new voices in rock, began to consider the themes of her new album, three vivid words began to emerge: joy, fear and endlessness. The artwork of the band’s third full-length, Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky, is a surreal image that evokes the ducks and dives, slippery slopes and existential angst of life in recent times. “To me, the feelings of joy, fear and endlesses coexist together,” says Dana. “You’re never just happy or unhappy.” Following Every Bad’s release in 2020, Margolin was quickly becoming regarded as one of the most magnetic band leaders around. But if Every Bad established Dana’s bravery in laying herself bare, her band’s third record takes that to anthemic new heights. While there are moments of guttural release, she also finds soft power on songs. “I used to think I had to be loud to be heard,” she admits, “but now I’m definitely less afraid of being gentle.”

The band’s first new single, Back To The Radio, sets out their stall, a lurching call to arms that contrasts Dana’s lyrics of panic and closing herself off. This song is just one of example in WDBLTTS that explores something that has long been an important part of Porridge Radio’s process: playfulness. “I think the album needed to have that balance,” Dana explains. Balance: that’s the word the album seems to be eternally striving for – joy, fear and endlessness in harmony but also self-acceptance. Dana is more aware of how she’s creating a persona as her star continues to rise, and how she’s singing personal songs that now belong to other people which gives her purpose. She says, “I wrote these songs for myself, but I think everyone wants to feel like what they’re doing is useful in some way. I’m ready to embrace it all now, whatever happens.

The first thing that stands out about Porridge Radio is singer/guitarist Dana Margolin’s completely unique voice—so charmingly odd and unusually sounding like it’s on the verge of collapse. On the Brighton band’s third album (not counting some previously self-released titles), nowhere is the intensity of that more clear than on “Birthday Party,” as she endlessly recites “I don’t want to be loved” until you can’t track the intention—desperate, bratty, defiant? And then the last verse turns into absolute hysteria, 40-plus seconds of bloody-raw emotion, a run-on rant that includes “Invite me to your birthday party/ Watch me cry across the room/ I don’t want to be forgotten/ I don’t want to be alone.” She’s doing all the work, but it will still leave you breathless and spent. Margolin has talked about how the album’s title—hinting at slippery slopes and aspirational ascents—was inspired both by a collage by the surrealist artist Eileen Agar and also Jacob’s Ladder from the Old Testament. The latter, she said, “symbolizes the ups and downs of human life, of virtue and sin.” Indeed, this collection of songs is an emotional rollercoaster that never plays it subtle or lives in the gray area. “Lock all the windows and shut all the doors/ And get into the house and lie down on the cold, hard floor,” Margolin sings on “Back to the Radio.” That song, like many others here, has the feel of early Modest Mouse circa The Lonesome Crowded West, with its pinball bounce between stark simplicity and full-to-bursting kinetic energy, dripping with anxiety and determination, and always with a touch of prettiness. “U Can Be Happy If U Want To” features an organ that walks the line of church and creep show, before lightening up to become calliope-like. The chords draw out almost too long, creating a sense of unease, as Margolin explores co-dependence: “My voice is stuck to your voice/ So everything that I say belongs to you/ My head is stuck to your head/ So everything I think belongs to you.” She finishes by repeating the words “and back” until they lose all meaning and start to sound like a foreign language. It’s a move she also makes on “End of Last Year,” chanting “I don’t want to go back” until you’re completely disoriented. She’s called it a “love song”—but it’s also about “not trusting my intuition, not trusting my body to heal itself, not trusting the people closest to me.” – Shelly Ridenour

Tracklist:
01. Porridge Radio – – (01:09)
02. Porridge Radio – Back to the Radio (03:07)
03. Porridge Radio – Trying (02:19)
04. Porridge Radio – Birthday Party (04:08)
05. Porridge Radio – End of Last Year (03:05)
06. Porridge Radio – Rotten (03:00)
07. Porridge Radio – U Can Be Happy if U Want To (05:09)
08. Porridge Radio – Flowers (04:11)
09. Porridge Radio – Jealousy (04:13)
10. Porridge Radio – I Hope She’s Okay 2 (02:27)
11. Porridge Radio – Splintered (04:43)
12. Porridge Radio – The Rip (02:56)
13. Porridge Radio – Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky (03:22)

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