port-royal - Where Are You Now, astronaut's glove spotlit against a black background

Where Are You Now

The fragile eruption of emotions in port-royal’s third full length is as devastating as static corroding against a thunder-bolted brain aerial. A fragmentation full of tethered, brittle boisterousness from a bygone era. Shoegaze, become dance gaze. The monologues of the mind are ready to sway in hazy-gazy posterity towards a fractal gobstopper.

The kind of music port-royal have done best, I find, from sampling “Afraid To Dance” (2007) and “Dying In Time” (2010), is wonderfully stasis ejecting, a big throttling of the system’s clutch and how all the elements work together. At times here it’s an uphill drive, but never a struggle &mdash the 4-to-the-floor techno phrasing evolves and refrains like a freak animal on a leash. It’s this kind of crazy abandon without need for a mass of different tempos that differentiates port-royal from straight up dance tracks while at the same time pushing their provenance into the heart of symptomatica.

Take ‘Theodor W. Adorno’ for a towered deconstruction of argument stasis. Parts push and pull, edge in and out, create a long-weathered cliffhanger, then leap up with imagined wings believing the beats, tied to an underground, grungy grindstone, can fly. Then the toppling arises, a shellshock euphoria, like a synaesthetic skydive. In particular it’s the laser cutter synths that pincer through the headroom and create lasting infinitude with attentiveness to a relatively long record. But long in the hands of intellectual bands sometimes means brevity shines through (see Godspeed You! Black Emperor).

Much of the electronics spend time bending their ideological intent. For instance, on the second piece, splintered synth surges compliment the above description to invite more strings to port-royal’s plumage. Instead of a essentials Ploughman’s salad, it’s a meaty effervescence that balms the listener in content. There are always local UK acts in the dancegaze, but none as close to the nineties goa rave of say, William Orbit’s ‘Adagio For Strings’ remix of Samuel Barber than port-royal from what this eye can see.



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