Monday, 5 August 2013

Portfolio - We | Humans

EP review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk


The experienced hands of Portfolio have no trouble whatsoever in following-up their majestic last album 'The Standing Babas' with new EP 'We | Humans'. Their ten-year career would have been over a long time ago without the kind of staying power you need to keep on reeling out the goods, and the Italian collective are in fine fettle here, showing off more of the writing that's impressed in the past. There is a reminder of last year's full-length which comes in the form of a Silent Panda | Deadly Panda  remix of 'Beth Gibbons', a version which sounds not unlike it could have been taken from the sessions for Portishead's 'Third', but you suspect that was kind of the idea. Also 'Kim Novak With Strings' is a reworking and is closer to haunting, baroque dreampop than in its original form.

It's the new songs that capture the imagination though. Composing a melody and lyrics is one thing (and takes great skill to do well), but here it's the additions that make these tracks so engaging. 'James Horses Chariot' passes the six-minute mark and you don't even realise it's so long or that it has so many twists and turns as the band are so perfectly in tune with how it should sound, down to each minute detail, that it's a pleasure to listen to. 'Sion' adds on an extra minute, and although it doesn't quite reach the same heights it's still a mighty piece of work; extending songs like this and maintaining interest levels isn't easy, and it's down to their creative diversity that Portfolio manage it so easily, adding the kind of jazz-rock breaks that Spiritualized use so well as it builds to a grand finale.



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