portico

The three remaining members of Portico Quartet live on, predictably as Portico, and in ‘Living Fields’ there has been not quite a revolution but certainly a progression in their sound. Thus the opener and title track is a SOHN-esque wash of, let’s call it, falsetto electronica. It’s an enticing start.

Three guest vocalists feature separately on this record, most notably alt-J’s distinctly recognisable Joe Newman, whose laconic and idiosyncratic drawl fits particularly well on the anxious and intangible ‘101’. Meanwhile, Jono McCleery’s vocals on the single ‘Bright Luck’ really soar, lending a very human and emotional reality to the music, which can feel spacey and abstract.

Yes, this does feel like music made to a distinct and vogueish template – floating synths and detached-feeling, melancholy-tinged vocals – but in tracks like ‘Living Fields’ and the monkish ‘Brittle’, it’s superbly executed. This is an album equally suited to experiencing in an enveloping, engaging live environment – where its muted euphoria will feel heightened and elevated – as on a melancholy Sunday night at home.

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