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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

CD Review: Porter Block - Off Our Shoulders

Porter Block – Off Our Shoulders
2008, Engine Room Recordings

Porter Block is a New York City band with serious chops. They focus on developing song arrangements that can be delivered equally in a live setting or on CD, with driving guitars, anthemic choruses, and harmonies that evoke The Barenaked Ladies (Washington Post). Porter Block released their Sophomore CD in May 2008. Off Our Shoulders is a fine example of modern rock drive and pop sensibility.

One thing I will say is that Porter Block has some of the best harmonies I've heard on a rock record. There's something very Eagles about the vocal mix in Porter Block, and this makes the choruses extremely pleasant to listen to. In general Porter Block has quite the mellow rock sound. If you could imagine The Gin Blossoms with Alan Parsons as chief writer it may give you an idea of how to begin to classify Porter Block.

Lonely Levon is a fun listen, and Sun Goes Down is a touching ode to a boxing hero. What The Future Holds is a groovin' blues-based acoustic rocker that will get your feet moving, and Well Gone Dry is a successful alt-country rocker with crossover potential.

In general the material here is good, but I had a hard time finding anything that I specifically connected with. It's very apparent that Porter Block is quite a talented band, but not much here really stood out as better than just good. There is one exception. All Of Who I Am is the sort of confessional singer-songwriter song that you might expect from Ben Folds or Marc Cohn. This could be a signature song and alone is worth the price of the CD. Off Our Shoulders is definitely worth giving it a spin, even if it's just for All Of Who I Am. Make sure you check out Porter Block.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Porter Block at, where you can purchase a copy of Off Our Shoulders.

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