Porij: Teething review – dance music without drama or daring

Estimated read time 2 min read

You can imagine a private members’ club commissioning Porij as artists-in-residence: the young Manchester band makes dance music so smooth and so inoffensive that I can imagine it goes down a treat among the UK’s young, moneyed finance set. The title of their debut album Teething is a misnomer; even if it implies growing pains or an unsettled genesis, perhaps with a rewarding outcome, that rarely comes through on this record of neutered garage beats and platitudinal lyrics.

Cover art for Teething.View image in fullscreen

Throughout Teething, Porij allude to edginess or emotional danger, but it never comes through on the record. Marmite’s vengeful lyrics (“Haunt my life, I’ll haunt yours back”) can’t cut through its glazed poolside ambience. Sweet Risk, about entering a reckless relationship, conveys none of that tenuous sense of abandon in its weightless jungle beat. In recent years, dozens of other artists, from Avalon Emerson to Kllo and even TikTok chart-topper PinkPantheress, have more successfully fused underground sounds with heart-on-sleeve pop lyricism; in sanitising the sounds they’re referencing, Porij wind up behind the pack.

There are highlights among the haze. Stranger is a deeply affecting exploration of gender dysphoria whose lyrics are alternately guileless (“I just want to wear little shorts in the deep end”) and profound (“They were so close when they made me”). You Should Know Me is ingratiating simply by virtue of having a full, sinewy bass line; Gutter Punch, although borrowing liberally from Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy in its second verse, is destabilising and magnetic. For the most part, though, Porij can’t help but feel warmed over.

Source: theguardian.com

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