The Ronald Paris House EP and Porches’ recent live sets see them culling an increasingly electronic, experimental sound that’s richer than ever in both instrumentation and arrangement. But strip away the synthetic textures and put an acoustic guitar in Aaron Maine’s hands and some of the best magic is bound to happen. The recordings from Porches’ live YAK session from Know Wave studio have a certain aura about them—their lines cling with a sparsity that lends them an entrancing power.
The three tracks are filled with intimations of absence and longing, according with their hushed sound. The opening track features a mellow fingerpicked guitar line dotting the space around the vocals, which quietly scales and descends from the high register as Maine concedes that he said the wrong thing. If this admission of sullen longing is a tearjerker, it’s nothing compared with “Glow”, which bridges the confused bitterness and utter regret of a vexed relationship over a few quiet chords. Maine’s steadied melody as he sings the loaded line “I tell you the truth / you tell it to me, too” is ineffably chilling, while his voice bears a weight that seems to put it on the verge of breaking. All the emotional bluster comes to a slowdown with “Pool”, which swims in a space of fantasy with lines like the cryptic “Don’t wake me up for dinner / my body’s wild when it is still.” All the while, Maine exercises incredible control—he’s mastered the transition from restraint to abandon and back, resulting in a motion that’s wholly hypnotic.