20 is an odd and awkward age. It sits exactly between being a teenager and being 21, the age at which you’re supposed to be an adult or at least you have all the rights and responsibilities of adulthood. When you’re younger it seems so far away and people who are 21 seem like they’re “old” or worldly when, once you get there, you realize how funny these notions are. But at 20, or thereabouts, you start to have an inkling that your teenage bravado about what you think you know is misplaced but don’t yet possess the hilariously unfounded confidence of your mid-twenties when you are sure you’ve seen it all and thought it all and the world is your oyster and if you haven’t made your mark by 25 or certainly by 27 then you’re a failure. Only you’re not. But going back to 20, the Port Lucian single “20z” has a charming, jangle-y guitar melody that maintains a rhythm and tone while Portia Maidment’s vocals swirl slightly commenting on days that seem so significant and summers that seem to last forever giving you the time to go on long drives and talk about whatever comes to mind as though it’s the most important thing in the world. Anyone over 22 remember that time and miss it a little? That sense of the magic of having the luxury of ample unstructured time to fill with contemplating your dreams and aspirations? Of course you do even if your specific experience isn’t quite parallel. That emotional space has been eloquently preserved in this Port Lucian song. Listen to “20z” no Soundcloud, connect with Port Lucian at the links below and look out for the Port Lucian’s Prince of Oddities EP out September 18 on Z Tapes.
On the song “Full Control?” Port Lucian ponders the uncertainties and wash of mixed emotions in a relationship with someone where there’s a not small amount of time spent far apart. If not a long distance relationship, one in which the people involved use modern technology to stay connected. And we know that such supposed conveniences don’t quite suffice for in person connection the way social media is showing to be a poor substitute for being able to talk to someone and gauging nuances and basic human communication that doesn’t translate well to a website or even a text. The vocals float along luminously in a flow of tones like a dreamlike pace, bright, distorted synth melodies giving expression to an underlying desire to keep the relationship going but having misgivings with how it is currently maintained. Referencing concepts like being “AFK” and having a “3 by 6 silhouette” the song eloquently to the things we take for granted and accept that turn aspects of our lives that should be visceral and vital into something more abstract making it easier to dissociate from a physically human context. Nevertheless, the song evokes the a sense of longing and hoping for a better future wherein one doesn’t have to settle for what can come to seem a virtual relationship. The title of the song “Full Control?” questions whether people in such a situation as described in the song can have any control over the circumstances of the relationship when so much of it is contingent of necessity due to the distances involved as when you don’t have that immediate feedback and touch it can feel out of everyone’s control. Listen to “Full Control?” on Soundcloud and connect with Port Lucian at the links provided.
The creamy roil of melody, the drawn out guitar strum shimmer, ghostly harmonic synth drone and warm but distant vocals—all of that sets Port Lucian’s “Lucid Dreaming II” apart from most lo-fi bedroom shoegazers. The way Portia Maidment arranges the layers to mutually enhance while drawing you into the experience evoked by the song is remarkable. It’s tempting to compare her music to that of the likes of Flying Saucer Attack, Grouper, Midwife and Mojave 3 because of the expert use of space and dynamics with an intuitive knack for natural rhythms suggested by the flow of sounds. That and the use of guitar as both a textural and almost purely tonal instrument like another synth. Listen on Spotify and follow Port Lucian at the links below.