Brighton’s Porridge Radio are the absurdist side of existential – off-kilter with sadness and gallows humour, riotous on stage. Built on Porridge Radio’s (a.k.a. Dana’s) songs, ‘Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers’ shows how empty-feeling people are often full of something. The album’s lyrics are remarkable. Dana explained: “I write songs when I’m sad to process how I feel, then share them with my friends who make them better and make them work as a band.” Together they’re great.

The album evokes The Raincoats and Electrelane to Pavement and mid-tempo garage rock like The Seeds. Take the album’s second side: ‘Can U Hear Me Now?’ updates a psych staple – the driving second side of an album opener – with contemporary detachment and frustration. The next track, harvesting tear-inducing choice paralysis emotions, responds, “I’m sorry, I tried.” Intentional or otherwise, that’s brilliant. As is the poetic and sardonic: “this is the worm speaking to the maggot – it’s so easy.”

It’s an album that’s cryptic and rich. As Dana says: “if you are listening casually and miss something that’s ok and if you are listening intently and read something that isn’t there into it then that’s even better; there’s loads of things you will miss all the time and loads of things you will see that aren’t there and that’s ok.”

Whatever you hear, it’s an album that creatively builds on a legacy of interesting music with an individual and unusual sensitivity – and it’s the best thing I’ve heard lately.


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