It’s nearly impossible to mention Porcupine without Greg Norton coming up (formerly of Husker Du), but let’s not forget that before Norton’s presence, the Minneapolis-by-the-way-of-La-Crosse outfit had been doing great things in the area of post-punk for a decade, especially with 2015’s overlooked EP, Carrier Wave.
Now with Norton on board, this new EP ups the ante into extremely well-done sounds that bring the best aspects of ’90s alt-rock, dreamy post-punk, and New Wave sensibilities into flourishing melodies and intricate songs that are both unpredictable and instantly memorable. While frontman Casey Virock’s assured vocals and meticulous guitar work are at a career high, the rhythm section of Norton and Ian Prince get both bouncy and thundering while still letting the hooks shine.
Though there’s not a dud to be found here, “Standing By The Sea,” penned by the late, great Grant Hart, is a highlight that retains the ebullient spirit of the original and seems like a fitting memorial for Norton’s former bandmate. I may be a bit biased being from Minneapolis and all, but if there’s a better record that was released this year, I certainly didn’t hear it.