London’s Dignan Porch have always displayed a certain charm in their lo-fi guitar shaped pop. Their 2010 debut Tendrils was a DIY product housing a set of strummed guitars, tumbling rhythms and reverb-heavy hooks. We liked it.
We’ve had an EP in the interim but Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen is clearly a natural progression. The four piece have found their way to a studio this time, which has indeed improved the recording process. They aren’t about to relinquish their lo-fi roots just because they’re paying for a room with better mics, however. The album still free-wheels on a loose vibe and sounds all the more human for it.
Trouble is they’ve not got enough songs, ideas or Dignan magic to spread across the record. Pretty much every track has the same arrangement. What with the trebly electric guitar strums, spaced out guitar solos, rolling beat and repetitive vocal melodies there are probably four or five songs here, the rest feeling like decent enough variations, but variations all the same.
It starts with Picking Up Dust, a track playing to all their strengths. It flows so naturally it could circle me all day long, frontman Joe Walsh quietly repeating the title’s words before an effected guitar solo slews across. Sad Shape finds a new tension, the drums roll for the verse’s full duration, allowing the refrains to create a release, a nicely contained space for rocking-out.
Closer You Win You Win is the most affecting track the band have put down. The vocal melody finds a touching melancholy in its progression, the guitars building to a blown out distortion. It feels like emotional turmoil captured almost accidently by a band running with their strengths and stumbling upon an absolute gem.
Such highlights should keep Dignan Porch on the radar, and their inability to record anything less than decent is a plus. It’s just a shame they’ve not stretched their songwriting abilities here and at least tested the boundaries – maybe next time.