Evolution in action, this. ‘Dying In Time’, the third record from Italian troupe Port-Royal, continues their steady transition from promising but pretty formulaic post-rockers to electric-powered, genre-jumping god-knows-what. Hell, with 8-minute opener ‘Hva’- all breathy, ambient swells rising to crashing-surf static and fidgety glitches before succumbing to total meltdown- the band have pretty much captured the shifting sands of their sound. It’s more missing movie soundtrack chapter than proper song and while at times it’s docile and dreamy and at others a bracing wake-up call, it’s ever-so-exciting as it goes and always disarmingly beautiful.
Growth isn’t always so graceful though and while the closing three-part epic here is post-everything, Radiohead-ian (‘Ok Computer’ and Kid A’) bliss, other tracks skip and pop and clash and struggle to gel their separate elements. So instead of accomplished, complete conclusion, the impression is that this is a sound that needs work, needs time and love and attention. And it’s a sound which we’ve caught only part way to its best. Like Port-Royal have released demos of a dramatic, awkward but rewarding growth spurt rather than their third album proper.
Sure, there is balance to be found- on ‘Exhausted Muse’ and among the ethereal whispers and icicle cracks of ‘Anna Ustinova’ especially- and something like ‘Nights In Kiev’ is a signpost to a future even further away from pure post-rock, but really this is the sound of a band in flux, a band perhaps on the edge of discovering something great, and it’s where Port-Royal go next that’ll really be worth watching.
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