Portico – Living Fields
Before you ask, Portico are not Portico Quartet. Yeah, you might recognise three members of the original four-piece, but Living Fields is – as far as their press release goes, anyway – a debut album from a brand new band. And, it’s really beautiful. A moody, elegant record with flickers of shiny, shiny pop, Living Fields navigates a tricky path between the purely atmospheric and the distinctly rhythmic, throwing a nod to post-XX spaciousness without any hint of mimicry. Throughout, starry-eyed guest vocals come from Alt-J’s Joe Newman and crooner Jamie Woon, but full marks go to Jono McCleery, whose voice glitters, ice-cold, on three of the album’s very best numbers.
Thoughtful and understated, Portico are serenely aware of their brilliance and happy to sit back and let you realise it, all in your own time. The opening title track sets the bar high in a manner so self-assured it’s almost confrontational. Closer Memory of Newness manages to be razor sharp and serenely hazy at the same time, with just the whisper of a post-dub beat to tie the knot. A ‘new’ band they may be, but Living Fields is a triumph of Portico’s already well-travelled, well-tested talents.