Porridge Radio – Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky review

by Philip Moss

The quiet revolution – Dana Margolin takes a tentative step away from the fringes of alt-rock towards somewhere more universally appealing

The DNA of the alt-rock section in your local indie record shop will always carry traces of a whole spectrum of art and culture – and on Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky, Porridge Radio embrace this spirit, while still remaining completely true to themselves.

 The title of the Brighton band’s new record is inspired by Eileen Agar – the surrealist artist who pitted two seemingly unworkable ideas onto one palette – and Margolin’s interpretation of this from a musical perspective is immediate. The quiet growl of grunge guitars that open Back to the Radio come on their most ‘radio friendly’ attempt yet. Borderline anthemic, the DIY explorations of 2016’s Rice, Pasta And Other Fillings are still buried in the mix. But Margolin’s attempt to reach the ‘stadium epic’ levels of Coldplay come through – the vocal appears in within just one second of pressing play – and where there were flashes of this on Every Bad, it is clear here that every single melodic note has been refined.

The quirky abstraction comes through in Margolin’s words too – with Agar’s ideas clearly influencing Trying ‘My body is made of wood and stone / It can rot and it can burn.’ But so does the raw emotion – repeating ‘Now my heart aches’ on The Rip – and the reality of a conflicted brain on Birthday Party‘A fear of death, a fear of dying / Why won’t the dog pick up the stick? / Panic sweats you wake up crying / Always feeling kind of sick.’

Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky is an addictive record. For all its more overt welcoming of pop sensibilities and snappy choruses, like the best of art, there’s so many more layers to explore – now the choice of whether to slide, jump or climb into Margolin’s world is now up to you.

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