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Monday, August 3, 2009

Review: Porter Block - The Gowanus Yacht Club

Porter Block - The Gowanus Yacht Club
2009, Engine Room Recordings

Porter Block set out write and record an album reflective of his surroundings. Living in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, Block was inspired to reach out to other New York City songwriters and invite them to write and record with him. The resulting album, The Gowanus Yacht Club, features a cross section of some of the best Indie talent New York City has to offer. Guests include Telepopmusik's Angela McCluskey, Casey Shea (The Undisputed Heavyweights), Terry Radigan Wes Hutchinson and Nate Campany, among others.

The Gowanus Yacht Club opens with Second Wind, a layered and highly melodic bit of Americana that is a pleasurable start to the disc. Block reminds me a bit of Alan Parsons on Times Between The Good Times, more in writing style than anything else. The vocal harmonies in the chorus are the perfect foil to the guitar-heavy arrangement. List Of Things To Do is a fun Pop-Americana tune about the art of procrastination. Vaguely tongue-in-cheek; the tune is a treat that will make you want to get up and dance. Sun Goes Down is a pleasant listen that's a bit sad in content; melancholy if you will. All Of Who I Am sounds like it should be a love song; but is more of a declaration of the person as performer. The song is very well written and quite lovely; starkly emotional and honest without going over the top in expressive display.

What The Future Holds is an upbeat and vibrant rock tune about youthful expectations and the reality that follows in time. It's a delightful listen that you'll feel compelled to dance along to. Happy Everything is a tongue-in-cheek treatise on the juxtaposition of decline and optimism that seems very apropos for the current age. Well Gone Dry is very catchy and has real potential for licensing. Cream Delicious closes out The Gowanus Yacht Club in a kitschy love song accented with great vocal harmonies.

Porter Block uses the power of collaboration for good on The Gowanus Yacht Club, perhaps the most accomplished and enjoyable concept album of the year thus far. Even where Block and his collaborates stray from the beaten path they seem to arrive at moments of magic that are worthy of recognition. I highly recommend The Gowanus Yacht Club; make sure you check it out.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Porter Block at or You can purchase The Gowanus Yacht Club as a CD or download through

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