I’ve been debating how to write my review of Dylan Shearer’s Porchpuddles for so long I can’t even tell you how many models I’ve gone through. Should I go back to the nutty Gumshoe gristle of old and play this puppy out as a review set in a detective’s office? Should I go blurb-happy in the style of the one-of-a-kind Fillmore Mescalizzle? Should I just pen a straight-up review and stop trying to make shit sparkle so hard? No. No. And, finally, FUGG NO — I need to play this one straight, bit by bit, so I’m going to bullet-point this bitch:
The following are facts and opinions I’ve had enter my head since receiving the sublime Porchpuddles LP in the mail:
• The first dozen or so times I listened to his soft porch-coo, I didn’t even realize there were drums; that’s how all-consuming Shearer’s man-angel voice is; that’s how addictive his folk-brushed paw tracks are.
• Shearer’s songs contain all the magic and whimsy of many of Syd Barrett’s compositions, and best of all, he doesn’t appear to be haunted by the same demons as said shaman. With only a 2009 Yik Yak LP on his resume up to this point, according to Discogs, he’s also fresh; until he’s discovered and whisked away on a jet boat, you, me, and the indie rock water cooler have this dude all to ourselves. Enjoy it, because it won’t last forever if the gods are indeed fair and true.
• One of the strongest aspects of Shearer’s approach to songcraft is his tendency to pen folk-rock songs that cycle through four or five changes before returning to the root verse/chorus/etc. Many artists have rankled my ear-ankles this way, but D-Shear manages to maintain his focus throughout his sequences of nearly endless transitions, to the point where you won’t realize you miss a line or hook until it comes back around and slaps you in the ass-face.
• There are seven additional numbers that didn’t make the Porchpuddles cut (available via download when you buy the LP, which, apparently, not enough of you have done yet since this record dropped in June), and — holy FUCKazz … they’re probably even better than the chosen sons.
• You’ll hear drips and drabs from the first Shins LP, Bobby Trimble records, and Byrds material in the backing arrangements, but they’re cast in more of a supporting role, providing a bed for Shearer’s whispers to doze off in but not offering a whole lot on their own. And it doesn’t matter a wit; not a wit.
I guess that’s it. Hate to be so businesslike about this whole… business, but I wanted to get the facts out there and felt this approach was the best way to accomplish that without turning this into one of those marathon G-shoe rants that register as wordier than the scene-settings of LotR. My hope is my words will be nifty enough to persuade you to listen, but I can only weave so much magic with these stubby dude-fingers of mine; for the Real Deal, listen to the sample above and check out the album yourself.
03. Tardy Party
04. Where I’ve Gone
05. That’s All Folks
06. Cutting Through
07. Already, Alright
08. Quartz Trails
09. Lostlore (Tinsel Mines)
10. Walked Away