Port O’Brien

Port O’Brien


All We Could Do Was Sing

If you’re searching for an easy and more satisfying way to get into this summer’s nautical trend, then why not put down them Topshop sailor shorts and dose up, instead, on hearty measures of Port O’Brien. Merging aquatic Americana that casts its net over the gang mentality of Arcade Fire, The Polyphonic Spree and Broken Social Scene – and that most über-overexposed of F-words, folk – it’s clear why Johnny Marr is touting the Californian throng as his new favourite band.

When it comes to lyrical inspiration, water has oft provided the bewildered songwriter a safe and solid bet. And so it goes that Port O’Brien stick to a classically damp theme for ‘All We Could Do Was Sing’: the sea. Still, they’ve got more claims to the ocean-based shanty style than most; founding member Van Pierszalowski used to work on his father’s salmon-fishing boat in Alaska, an isolated existence which may be partly responsible for the noise freakout in ‘Pigeonhold’.

Opening track ‘I Woke Up Today’ is a riot of plank-slapping, bell-ringing, string-thwacking glee, its vocals delivered in the style of an off-kilter – and quite possiblyhalf-cut – choir of Neptune’s minions. ‘My Eyes Won’t Shut’ is less concentrated, but just as perky, while the ‘In Vino Veritas’ spookiness could have been dredged from the depths of Davy Jones’ Locker. ‘Close The Lid’ shows that they’re a dab hand at alt.rock love songs, and it’s worked: we’ve developed a bit of crush…

Leonie Cooper