Port St. Willow: Even // Wasteland [Album Review]

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Port St. Willow is the project of Nick Principe of Portland, OR, who says his album Even // Wasteland is “a record about standing in your own way.” After scrapping the origins of the project, Principe built it again from scratch. After an hour with Even // Wasteland (and knowing nothing of what came before), I still declare that it was well worth it.

Each song blends into the next, and the last into the first, creating a perfect, cyclical EP. “Pulse” begins minimally with the heavy beat of drums, which grows louder and more erratic as the song continues, then drops away for spacey, atmospheric guitar. We enter the mystical “Even” before vocals are even heard, and when they are, the falsetto harmonies are tear-worthy.

This mini-album is truly one-of-a-kind. From its discordant beginnings has arisen something full of luscious falsetto harmony; of gripping, tumultuous guitars layered by marching-band-like percussion; of pleasant melodies and calming harmonies. Not to mention the, frankly (apologies Lake Superior State University), epic ten-minute song “Wasteland”.

Download: “Even” by Port St. Willow

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[CDEP, 2010]

1. Pulse
2. Even
3. Tunnels
4. Wasteland

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