From dreamy Americana to his new-wave tinged dark pop, the early stages of Porches found Aaron Maine penning some very evocative narratives for such a young songwriter. Porches' second album, Pool (Maine's Domino Records debut), takes a more introspective dip, with poignant, swoon-worthy lyrics that feel fit for a movie. Maine often taps chic '80s synth hooks, twangy guitar chords and disco/house jukes for an offbeat merger that carries the album's sense of bliss throughout.
"Underwater" coasts on skeletal rhythms that rise up and evolve into more fleshed out Balearic forms, as Maine takes us on a wavy, nostalgia ride. The bleak synth lines of "Be Apart" thump in tandem with Maine's monotone vocals as he reels from trying to "be a part" of something that feels vague and unclear. There's a handful of Pool tracks that feature vocals from Maine's partner, Greta Kline (aka Frankie Cosmos), but "Hour," in particular, showcases their intimate harmonies, and they're supported by smooth, cascading percussion.
The latter half of Pool shines brightest when Maine shows more of himself, and becomes increasingly poetic and earnest. Both "Glow" and "Car" find him questioning the trajectory of his fleeting relationships, fully aware of how the things he clings to may be hindering his happy ending. After all the jazz-nodding yacht rock and bass-y warbles on "Shaver" and "Shape," the aquatic breeze of "Security" ends Maine's journey in a swell of steel drum shivers and sleek, mesmeric synths. It's a tranquil finale to a record that demands an immediate sequel — or, at least, another listen. (Domino)