Portico Progeny Blues

A delightful leap forward from their debut, this is a confident-sounding sophomore release that is quite the thing of beauty when it connects. Although there is energy, it crackles just under the surface, only making overt appearances on some occasions. The band are going for atmosphere and they succeed quite nicely, as this album has a great consistent feel that makes it one of those listens that actually gets better if experienced as an album, rather than a collection of songs. But I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t note some of the brighter spots, like gorgeous highpoint "Sincerely.” A slow burn that gives its payoffs in layered horns and subtle orchestration, this is an emotional peak and the main piece of evidence that Portico have stepped their game up considerably. A more plaintive piece, but still lovingly elegiac, is "Grande Prairie,” where Lyn Heinemann’s voice sucks you in before the slow intensity of the song seals the deal. Though some tracks don’t sparkle as brightly as others, this is still a remarkable leap that proves something great is indeed brewing. (Copperspine)