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Posted on January 26th, 2012 (12:04 pm) by Mark Schiffer

Sometimes, genre-hopping works. Exhibiting all of one's influences has the capacity to create a persona of one's own, which is cobbled together from seemingly disparate elements. While it has been known to come across as empty experimentation, other times it soars. Some bands, like Ween, use this kind of lack of personal categorization to go on postmodern tangents, to both humorous and musical effects. Others use the constraints of various genres to showcase specific elements of their musicality, allowing for them to show how, for example, the chord progressions of a '60s pop song can infect their own songwriting.

Porcelain Raft, also known as Mauro Remiddi, has clearly recorded an album which falls into the latter category of genre-hopping with his full-length debut, Strange Weekend. With an upcoming tour accompanying M83 and placement on Stereogum's 50+ Most Anticipated Albums of 2012! list, Remiddi is clearly being groomed for indie-superstardom. The only question is, does Strange Weekend stand up to scrutiny, or is it just another buzz album?

For the most part, Porcelain Raft seems to be worth the upcoming hype that will be accompanying the release of his album. Strange Weekend's diverse, eclectic nature allows the album to feel dynamic, as opposed to derivative. Although the trappings of genre are sometimes restrictive, the album has a warm, gauzy glow running through it, which has the effect of both unifying the work and giving it an almost entirely dreamy feel. At the same time, the songs are memorable and energetic, as on the buzz-worthy "Put Me to Sleep", which sounds like it could be as iconic a party track as M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" was, once upon a time. Future single “Unless You Speak From Your Heart” merrily bounces along to an organ line reminiscent of classic Elephant 6.

Like many ambitious albums however, sometimes the reach exceeds the grasp. This is probably most evident on the potentially moving, but obviously superfluous “Here Comes A Regular”-lite of “Backwords.” The attempt to add orchestration to this otherwise somewhat pleasant piece of bedroom pop balladeering drowns any potential emotions generated by the song itself in schmaltz.

Despite these kinds of occassional misteps, Strange Weekend clearly is an album worthy, for the most part, of the forthecoming buzz. It is highly likely that its future singles will fill soundtracks and commercials for the year to come. Porcelain Raft has crafted a work of warmth and joy, and its future place in the indie “overground” will be well-earned.

Track List:
1. Drifting In And Out
2. Shapeless Gone
3. Is It Too Deep For You
4. Put Me To Sleep
5. Backwords
6. Unless You Speak From Your Heart
7. The End of Silence
8. If You Have A Wish
9. Picture
10. The Way In

Porcelain Raft, Strange Weekend
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

76 / 100
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