Porlolo is a highly collaborative project based around the songwriting of self-defined, “sister, swimmer and stunt artist”, Erin Roberts. On her upcoming EP, Awards, she is joined by the likes of Tom Mohr, Anna Morsett (The Still Tide, Brent Cowles), Jake Miller (Esmé Patterson, The Still Tide, Brent Cowles), James Barone (Beach House), and Pat Meese (Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats).
Classic alt-country meets stomping indie-rock, Erin’s soaring vocal accompanied by pulsing bass, energetic rhythms and some gorgeously twanging guitar work. Former touring mates Jessica Lea Mayfield and Phosphorescent certainly both make for sensible reference points.
Originally formed in Denver, Porlolo have moved extensively; wandering through Denver, Gunnison, Eugene, and currently, Fort Collins. Located in Larimer County, Colorado, with a population of 161,000, Fort Collins is Colorado’s fourth most populous city. Probably most famous as the home of Colorado State University, the city was originally a military outpost, before growing rapidly as an agricultural community, at one point known as the, “lamb feeding capital of the world”. As with most college cities, Fort Collins has a strong local music scene, and an abundance of microbreweries. Some of the new acts emerging from the city include dream-pop duo, Candy Claws, “new-grass” quartet Head for the Hills and alt-country meets indie-rockers, You, Me and Apollo.
Porlolo began in 2002 with the release of What Would This Be For, offering five songs as part of a split release with Roger Green. That was followed by the debut album, 2004’s Storm & Season, and then the follow-up, 2006’s Meadows, both albums released on Pomade The Sun Records. After eight years off, some of it spent with the band Ending People, Erin and company returned with the 2014 EP, Everything Barely. Their new EP, Awards, is out this week.
It’s under quarter of an hour-long, yet Awards is a succinct and exciting introduction to the varied musical offerings of Porlolo. From the soaring, anthemic sway of Wasting Time to the minimal, pure-pop mastery of the title track, there’s an impressive economy to this release. These tracks feel stream-lined, no note is wasted, no idea is left anything but perfectly realised.
Coming across like a grungier-Allo Darlin’, opening track I Don’t Want To Lose You, is a reflection on clinging onto relationships when the times get tough, as Erin sings, “I don’t want to fight, I just want to lose control, I don’t want to waste the night away, I don’t want to lose you.” Wasting Time, with its perfect guitar twang and thrilling bass rumble, is a glistening, melancholic master-stroke Sharon Van Etten would be proud of. Perhaps best of all might be the closing title-track; the easy shuffling acoustic guitar and wave of warm distant organ building to sweet crescendo, as the drums lift the whole thing skyward, and Erin’s vocal chimes in, “got a long list of ways that you could bring me on home, I won’t be losing this, not losing this, not yet.”
Perhaps it is Erin herself who offers the best summary of Porlolo as, “an incredibly powerful force in my own life, providing equal amounts of sanity and absurdity, keeping it weird when life gets tedious, heavy and too adult.” Mature, polished music which offers an escapism from the everyday reality, a reminder that sometimes a passion as self-indulgent and absurd as music can be the most rewarding thing in your life.
Four years for a three-track EP to arrive? Porlolo are anything but prolific these days, thankfully if you’ve just tuned in like we have, there’s a hefty back catalogue to be working your way through.
Awards is out April 27th. Click HERE for more information on Porlolo.