Porter Block: Suburban Sprawl

[9 May 2007]

By Jason MacNeil

Porter Block is the pride of Peter Block and Caleb Sherman. And these two can craft some well-rounded and refined pop songs in the vein of Crowded House or XTC during their Apple Venus period. But a song like “Wonder About Me” definitely has a roots-based feeling to it. Porter Block also show their earnest side during “Worrying Me”, another acoustic-driven song that has ample amounts of gorgeous melody. The group rarely gets out of this format, opting for laidback over edgy with a track called “Safe and Warm” that would give Jack Johnson a run for his money. However, the album is so mired in this realm that it almost lulls one to sleep, as is the case with the pretty “Circles”, which never deviates from the norm of this record. The first track with more than a soft pop beat is the slow-building “Underneath”, which is perhaps the tune that rocks out, but even then that’s not saying a hell of a lot on this album. Lowlights? Well, “South Beach Drive” is a waste of two minutes, basically, but it’s quickly atoned for with the pleasing “Blackberry Girl”.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/porter-block-suburban-sprawl/