Portable Only If You Look Up

Pop-punk quartet Portable deserves a cult-like following, and the group’s sophomore disc, Only If You Look Up, proves it. Guitarist Gus Ciceri creates fun and bouncy sounds that induce jumping. Portable’s sound is augmented on this record with more of vocalist Chance on the ivories, with the piano fitting nicely with those bouncy guitars. Lyrically, Chance uses clear and concise language, something that is much more difficult than it sounds, while managing to build a delicate metaphoric house of cards. "Suffocate” expresses the beauty of that with words like, "If you can’t breathe/Then I can’t breathe/Let’s suffocate together.” Drummer Brian Levy is often understated, but pulls together the elements of "Given” so that it sounds less like a sappy love ballad and more like a quiet statement of loss. Sebastian Ciceri is one of the rare few that uses the bass as a guitar, creating a nice wave-like texture to the band (as on "Suffocate”). Portable has grown nicely since their debut Secret Life. (TVT)