There is a certain fascination in trying to pin an artist down to clean definition of who or what inspires their sound; to play detective, like in one of those American crime shows that feature that scene, the one with the guy stood in front of a pin-board, plastered with images, linking person to place with scarlet string. - Berlin-based alternative rock duo, Lea Porcelain are not shy about sharing where their influences come from in their second studio album ‘Choirs To Heaven’. There is no sense of mystery here, but there is something to be said for this candidness and journey into personal introspection, especially in a time where we’re all so hungry for connection.
Lea Porcelain began work on the eleven-track album from across continents, a move between Berlin and Los Angeles that gives shape to the sense that we’re experiencing different worlds and cultures. With lyrics inspired by a Lucie Brock-Broido’s poem with the same title, first release off the album is ‘Ohio’. The track is a gritty soundscape of longing and isolation, a story of two estranged lovers searching for a future together. ‘Towns pass like pretty girls you wish you’d left behind’ Brock-Broido writes. ‘After the stars get dark, you get divine’ Lea Porcelain fires back.
The accompanying video directed by Michael Titze and Axel Schotermann, has a textured, cerebral, almost psychedelic feel to it. Silver-toned hands reach out, fingertips never quite touching. Bodies float and flowers bloom eagerly. They make space for each other, without ever fully connecting, like On these creative decisions, the band say that “Togetherness is the key. Even if it’s just in a spiritual way.”
Clocking in at a lengthy six minutes, opener ‘Consent Of Cult’ may not make too many radio-cuts, but it channels that world-shattering heartbreak that only Radiohead can do so well. Title-track ‘Choirs To Heaven’ and ‘Shoot The Moon’ would also work well as film soundtracks. Think: the sun slowly rising over grand, sweeping vistas, tears gently falling down porcelain skin, the opening chords of ‘Exit Music (For A Film)’.
This being said, Lea Porcelain have had some decent radio success. Back in 2020, they teased ‘Pool Song’ which recently found itself on Kult.FM’s ‘GTA 5’ playlist, alongside other cult classics handpicked by The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas.
‘Choirs To Heaven’ is intelligent and apocalyptic, a hybrid of post-punk and indie-rock that speaks to the fact that this year has passed us by just like a dream, a sullen and melancholic soundtrack to a film. As much as we like to call our own shots, we are inclined to concede that, if Casablancas approves, then so do we.
Words: Jessica Fynn
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