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Dignan Porch

Tendrils

(Captured Tracks; US: 30 Mar 2010; UK: import)

With the huge lo-fi movement going on these days, it’s easy to forget that fidelity isn’t a musical genre, it’s a conduit. As artists, you still have to carve out your own space, whether recording on a four-track in your bedroom or in a huge studio in New York. London-based Dignan Porch know this, and have found a spot in this brave new lo-fi world. Tendrils, the band’s first release for Captured Tracks, manages to keep the fidelity down without slipping into the expected fuzz. Instead, these songs shimmer. On tracks like “Flowers in May” or “No Pressure Baby”, beds of acoustic guitars are thickly and richly layered. The electric guitars jangle through “As You Were” and carve out space on “We Sat On the Hill”.


Equal parts psych-pop and pastoral folk, Tendrils is a record that does a whole lot with only a little, as Dignan Porch craft a hazy aesthetic without ever leaning too heavily on the hallmarks of lo-fi. Each song is its own tight, unique composition, and the vocals move from striking gang-shouts to banshee wailing to isolated keening without ever losing the thread. This is the kind of album that reminds us why aesthetics like lo-fi will never quite go away, because great bands like Dignan Porch use them so well without depending on them, because in the sweet melodies and surging energy of these songs, the band proves itself too confident to rest safely on a trend.

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Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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