Title - Clean Up The Living Room
Artist - Porter Block
For those unaware, in a year defined by anticipation as much as anything else, Porter Block has returned with an album all about the urgency of waiting and ache of isolation.
While Clean Up The Living Room was written during COVID lockdowns, it is far more than a quarantine record, tapping into timeless truths about the human condition as it reaches out for connection and understanding in the face of loneliness and detachment.
The songs here balance shadow and light in a delicate tightrope walk, hinting at everything from Warren Zevon and The Kinks to The Wallflowers and Fountains of Wayne as they pair bright power-pop arrangements with dark, sardonic lyrics.
1. Say Something Nice
2. I Don’t Wanna Wait
3. Work Real Hard
4. Step Inside The Right Side
5. Taking The Boat To Water
7. Spiral Down Fashion Dolls
8. Mine To Control
10. Clean Up The Living Room
11. Get On The Bus
Opening on the free flowing majesty of Say Something Nice and the poppy foot tapper Don’t Wanna Wait, they back those up seamlessly with the melodic rock of Work Real Hard, the aching hipsway of Step Inside The Right Side, the mid-tempo rocker Taking The Boat To Water, and the piano-led Angry.
Next up is one of my own personal favorites, the quietly-paced, psych-imbibed magnificence of Spiral Down Fashion Dolls and the bountiful pop rock celebration Mine To Control, with the album rounding out (all too soon, IMHO), with the gentle alt-rock of Fallen, the quieter, balladry lo-fi fare of the title track Clean Up The Living Room, and finally the rambunctiously upbeat Get On The Bus.
Our songs have always tended to be these upbeat, positive pop tunes that just confirm the absolute worst about human nature, says front man Peter Block. I think that combination happens to really encapsulate the past year for a lot of people.
Launched in 2005, Porter Block quickly garnered a reputation around New York City for their arresting blend of craftsmanship and wit. The bands 2006 debut, Suburban Sprawl, earned widespread critical acclaim, with AllMusic hailing its buoyant pop tunes filled with harmonies and hooks and PopMatters lauding its well rounded and refined songwriting and ample amounts of gorgeous melody.
Over the ensuing decade and a half, the band would go on to release five more studio records, collaborate with the likes of Mike Viola and Tracy Bonham, record with longtime Elvis Costello rhythm section Pete Thomas and Davey Faragher, and share bills with Mike Doughty, Tim Easton, Deep Blue Something, and The Samples, among others.
Along the way, Block also launched the music industry podcast In A State, which has featured guests like Marshall Crenshaw and Semisonic’s Dan Wilson, explored his passion for filmmaking, and overcame a debilitating neurological condition that left him partially paralyzed in his arms and hands.
Following his recovery, Block helped found Weill Cornell Medical Colleges non-profit Music and Medicine Initiative, which encourages students to continue engaging in musical performances during their training and teaches them to integrate the arts into their professional practices after graduation.
Official Porter Block - I Don’t Want To Wait (Official Music Video)
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