As the year nears its conclusion, I am taking stock of things. Namely, of the best albums of the year. As I try and put together my own personal list, I find myself checking out other lists and checking with friends to see if there are any albums I missed. I’m glad I take the time to do this every December, because otherwise I may have missed Porridge Radio’s fantastic Every Bad, which has already zoomed up into my top-five albums of the year.
I had never heard of Porridge Radio before, and I don’t know anything about them other than what I have heard on Every Bad. They sound British in some way, or at least the singer does. I’ve never heard somebody, say, play the drums in a way that sounds British. You know that line in “Do They Know It’s Christmas” about the clanging chimes of doom or whatever? That’s what Every Bad calls to mind.
This is not an album that intuitively falls into what I usually love. It’s not a pretty indie pop album or a sharp pop punk album or what have you. Porridge Radio sounds a little sludgy. They meander at times. The sound is somber and mournful. Every Bad is 11 songs and over 41 minutes. A few songs are around five minutes. Usually, that’s a detriment to my enjoyment. Not on this album, though. The songs “Long” and “Lilac” are both lengthy, but they are also both great.
Porridge Radio gives me vibes of Joy Division but with a richer sound (don’t say that’s what New Order was, I don’t agree). Every Bad washes over you some of the time, and other times it’s punching you in the face. It’s forceful which not being overwhelming. It feels like the soundtrack to the apocalypse, but somehow that’s a good thing? Even one of the cheerier songs on the album “Give/Take” is not exactly a rollicking good time. These are bummer jamz, but I love it nevertheless.
I wouldn’t have necessarily sought out a band that sounds like Porridge Radio, though I do find myself listening to more post-punk-style British bands these days, amongst my other usual fare. If you only like party music, don’t throw on Every Bad anytime soon. It feels more fitting for a funeral than a party, but you’d be having a pretty dope soundtrack for your funeral. Porridge Radio bombards you with something both bleak and beautiful. There are many lyrics on the albums about things being over, or never going back to where you once were, but this is an album I want to return to, and already have a couple times.