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Porter Block

Off Our Shoulders

(Engine Room; US: 10 Jun 2008; UK: Available as import)

With 2006’s Suburban Sprawl, New-York-City-based duo Porter Block produced a solid debut album that teased at the angular edges of guitar-fueled indie-pop, while delivering a record with a warm rootsy core that used stand-up bass, mandolin and dobro to good effect. For their follow-up, Off Our Shoulders, Peter Block and Caleb Sherman have opted for a more radio-friendly approach that has them ease back on the richly resonating country twang and focus instead on finger-popping harmonies, staccato riffs and driving power-pop beats. The result is a pleasantly infectious 36-minute spread of over 10 catchy pop missives that wash over you like a cool summer breeze without ever outstaying their welcome. Among the highlights are opener “Second Wind”, a Petty-esque rocker, confessional ballad “All of Who I Am” about one man’s love for his Martin guitar, and the polished strut and strum of “What the Future Holds” featuring a pulsating performance from guest drummer Steve Holly. Let’s just say—if the teen-mystery series Veronica Mars was ever dusted off for another season, the producers need look no further for a soundtrack.

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9 May 2007
These two can craft some well-rounded and refined pop songs but is so mired in this realm that it almost lulls one to sleep.
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