Patrick Porter – Skylan MO

Patrick Porter
Skylan MO

On his latest album, Patrick Porter sings like a worn, tired old man who has experienced too much romantic frustration, severe loneliness, and enough winters to drive a person to suicide. Some people can get away with texts and stripped-down melodies that discuss such life stages, but on Skylan MO, Porter drags on too often without appealing musical lights; the album could benefit from some literal brilliance. Porter manipulates his instruments and voice in touching, beautiful ways on a few tracks, but for a guy still in his 20s, he is so low most of the time that one wonders whether he’s too cynical, overly pessimistic, or both.

Skylan MO opens with the grinding “I See You,” in which Porter lethargically repeats the words “done” and “happy birthday.” Other tracks, like “Avoid” and “I Win,” continue the glum lyrical and instrumental approach. Porter’s sample of street sirens in “I Win” gives the song some flavor and an atmospheric edge that is absent throughout most of Skylan MO.

The strongest song on the album is its title track, gentle and moving, with Porter singing in a hushed tone and accompanying himself with airy acoustic guitars. The quivering, lo-fi approach of the chorus recalls Simon and Garfunkel. Another enjoyable track on Skylan MO is the appropriately titled “Taxi Driva (NYC Almost Instrumental),” an arpeggio-dominated affair that mesmerizes. “Very Goodbye” is haunting, with clicking tones, an old drum machine, tense piano keys, and ghostly repetitions of the song title.

Unfortunately, the other four tracks on Skylan MO are similar to the album’s opening trio, almost consistently lacking energy or a special element to keep listeners interested. Porter clearly knows how to make captivating music, as he demonstrates on the album’s aforementioned highlights, but he devotes too much time to devouring the microphone in lo-fi fashion and often moves slowly, lazily without any urgency or evident sense of purpose. Perhaps if he focuses more on creating melodies and not merely testing out his recording equipment, Porter will produce better albums in the future.