Aaron Maine leads Porches. (that’s intentional punctuation, by the way) into outer space and beyond on the band’s official, supremely satisfying debut, Slow Dance in the Cosmos. This dreamy collection follows several EPs by the New York quintet, plus an already well-carved niche in the Brooklyn DIY scene. The music Porches. make is often slow, always evocative, and tinged with nostalgic longing. “The motions go through me so ruthless and stark,” Maine groans sharply on “Permanent Loan.” Titled perfectly to suit its woozy, wistful vibe, Slow Dance in the Cosmos is Maine going through the motions, and we feel it all.
“Headsgiving” commences the album via gentle strumming, nurturing the lax, sweeping style that permeates nearly every sound on Slow Dance in the Cosmos. “She was just seventeen/You don’t know what I mean,” Maine sings sheepishly in a folksy voice, but there are decidedly humorous twists to the tales he’s weaving. “Jesus holds the universe/Inside his wife’s fancy purse,” goes faux-religious rock ballad “Jesus Universe,” Maine’s sentiments cradled by a boastful organ and crackling background. All at once, Maine is funny and witty, grim and self-deprecating; the unexpected, yet completely charming, protagonist of the Slow Dance saga.
Like with any proper mood swing, there’s a wide variety of emotions (and sounds) on Slow Dance in the Cosmos; there’s sparse and melancholy (the drug-addled “Xanny Bar”) and droopy, R&B-tinged pop (snappy single “Franklin the Flirt”). Buzzing, zapping, and undeniably kitschy, the glossy, sci-fi synths that blanket “After Glow” help create an album standout, right alongside psychedelic head-banger “Skinny Trees,” with its swinging, swaying riffs that propel your body to move.
With album closer “The Cosmos,” our thrilling adventure finally concludes. “We all die, but not I,” Maine croons, with what we can only imagine is a clear twinkle in his eye. “I don’t live here, I live in the cosmos.” As Slow Dance in the Cosmos floats lazily along the spectrum of this year’s very best releases, let’s hope that Aaron Maine continues to keep his head in the clouds.
4 / 5 bars