I have to say, I love Inside Out Music. The wide array acts they sign, covering all kinds of innovative creativity, from trad-prog to the downright bizarre, and everything in-between, never ceases to offer up new and exciting surprises. Port Noir, from Södertälje in Sweden, while not perhaps the most obvious signing for said label, have provided me with a very nice surprise indeed on their third full-length studio work, 'The New Routine'.
Featuring bassist/vocalist Love Andersson, sticksman AW Wiberg and guitarist Andreas Hollstrand (who's also credited with keys and backing vocals), this trio have forged an incredibly intriguing blend of alt-rock/alt-metal, pop, R&B and hip-hop within their music. And dare I use the "e" word? Okay, "emo"... there, I said it. Up there with nu-metal, metalcore and screamo as onetime dismissive putdown labels within the scene, emo has become as tarnished over the years. However, this has an inescapably "emo" slant at times, but without all the baggage. The vocals and some of the instrumentations are 100% emotionally wrought throughout tracks on 'The New Routine'... yet, this transcends mere "emo" labelling through its incessantly intriguing blend of styles.
I'm sure that many folks would run a mile from such a description and sigh loudly at the very thought of alt-rock and metal blended with the likes of pop and R&B... but it all works brilliantly. Or, rather, Port Noir have made it work brilliantly. To be honest, it took me three of four listens to get it but, when I did, I was hooked. And still am hooked. This is great stuff!
Traditional and alt-rock elements, with plenty of heavy grooves that verge on metal, have been mixed in and adorned with some pretty nifty keys, and all presented within eleven compositions that switch with sometimes jarring, yet always effective, shifts between quasi-commercial pop and contraposed alt-whatever. And it's Love Andersson's voice which seems to hold it all together, at least in terms of the contrasting elements, as the natural charms and smooth tones inherent in his singing feels at home whether he's exercising his vocal chords over the more commercial aspects of the music, or the downright heavy; or colouring the tracks with more of a hip-hop delivery, or alt-rock significance. But always 100% heavy on the emotions.
In search of something quite different, but with enough familiar handles and commercial underpinnings to engage your listening attention? Look no further than Port Noir. With 'The New Routine' (and these Swedes have delivered a "new routine" in terms of kicking stagnant genre-mimicry up the arse), they've delivered an album with a ton of accessible originality. A record of many highlights yet, I must say, I'm particularly hooked by the infectious charms and grooves of 'Blow'.
THE NEW ROUTINE
Review by Mark Holmes
10th May 2019
1) Old Fashioned
5) Low Lights
7) Young Bloods
8) Define Us
10) Down for Delight
11) Out of Line
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"In search of something quite different, but with enough familiar handles and commercial underpinnings to engage your listening attention? Look no further than Port Noir."