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Porij - Teething

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Porij have endured the sharp pains of self-discovery. Every raw nerve, every bloody scrape and sprain, have been necessary for that unavoidable thing we must grit our teeth and bare: growing up. Vocalist and keyboardist Scout Moore (Eggy), bassist James Middleton, guitarist Jacob Maguire and drummer Nathan Carroll are armed with hard-won experience, strengthened bonds and a renewed sense of passion. Their debut album Teething is both a coming-of-age story and a bottling of the particular magic that is unmistakably – and definitively – Porij.

 Rather than floating just beyond our reach on a digital cloud, Porij are a real band anchored to tangible sound. Following the success of their debut mixtape Breakfast in 2020, the band had awoken an appetite for something we didn’t realise we were so hungry for: a collision of between the worlds of indie-rock and dance music, weaving together the organic with the electronic to create something at once tender and transcendent.

 With warm-up slots for Metronomy, Coldplay and Friendly Fires alongside their own crowd-igniting shows, heads turned. Porij were met with a landslide of attention at press and radio, lauded as “ones to watch” by tastemakers including The Guardian, NME and BBC 6 Music. The arrival of Teething invites you to take a leap beyond seeing dance music as a genre, built from this type of kick or that type of snare, and instead as its own dimension: a place you can escape to. It pays homage to the language of sounds on the dancefloor which have encouraged generations to feel, not to think. While, lyrically, the record delves into thevtangle of lived experience, musically, it will free you from it.

 The band’s original line-up met while attending The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. It was there that these four artists from disparate corners of England and influence would converge: Eggy, the band’s vocalist, grew up being enveloped in the 2010 SoundCloud boom while bassist James Middleton rinsed bassline and jump-up bangers in his mate’s garage. It speaks to their chameleonic nature that their first show together would be, of all places, at a jazz club.

 Alongside intensively honing their technical instrumental skills and immersing themselves in the city’s live circuit, they tapped into the pulse of Manchester’s house club nights and house parties which sparked their love affair with dance genres. They fell, head over heels, for floor-filling sounds from UK garage to drum’n’bass and deep house. Generous helpings of this lineage are stirred into Porij’s distinct flavour.

 Breakfast would see the band take their first steps in unveiling their celestial, melody-driven club cuts to the world. These tracks were carefully polished jewels with the trance-inspired ‘Your Love’ (a Prodigy cover) and the glacial, string-embroidered ‘150’, marking them as precocious beyond their years. This debut was succeeded by Baby Face in 2021 which introduced another facet to their ever-evolving sound, introducing the understated elegance of their breakthrough hit ‘Nobody Scared’.

 The surface gleamed, but beneath it all, Porij’s were balancing on unstable foundations. Two members had departed at the start of 2022, and as their momentum reached new heights and deals were on the table, everything they had worked for together was in freefall. “To be perfectly honest, it was terrifying,” recalls Eggy. “I remember going through that time feeling like we were sharks: if we stopped swimming, we were gonna die.”

 In a frenetic bid to salvage Porij, Eggy and James invited their old university friends, guitarist Jacob Maguire and drummer Nathan Carroll and to join them. It began as a baptism of fire: Nathan’s first show with Porij was 6 Music Festival followed by plunging into supporting Metronomy; Jacob’s first day was an unholy trinity of a filmed live session, an interview and a gig. They had less than three weeks to pull it all together with nothing but blind faith behind them. Booked for multiple festivals every weekend, including performances at Glastonbury and Blue Dot Festival, the band bonded in the back of a Ford Fiesta or a cheap rental van

limping down the motorway. Teething is a product of this newfound family and evidence of a creative spark that, by no small miracle, burns brighter than ever before.

 Since the beginning, Porij had self-produced, self-mixed and entirely self-made their music, and even after having signed to [PIAS], the record was still incubated in their bedrooms and later James’ flat where they would sit together for hours giving colour, shape and texture to this new world. It was only then that they enlisted legendary producer David Wrench, famed for his work with era-defining artists including Frank Ocean, FKA Twigs and The XX. His mentorship allowed Teething to transform their music from a live-angled proposition to something folded in the arms of pop.

 ‘My Only Love’ is about the safety and comfort of a settled relationship, for better or worse. Eggy’s voice is tender, like a familiar hand stroking your cheek, while the beat plunges into a cosmos of dream-like denial: “I don’t know if this will be my forever love but it’s my only love for now.” It jolts against the boundaries of genre in a similar manner, as Porij describe it, to a DJ approaching a club set – fluid, playful and ever-changing. The sample you hear the beginning of the song, a sketch of a melody, was recorded by Nathan when a student of his hadn’t turned up to their lesson. It’s a timestamp in their everyday lives, like fingerprints left in clay: the record is full of such details that offer intimacy beyond words.

 For the first time, Eggy invites you into the inner world they otherwise fiercely protect. Teething is an admission of vulnerability that is saved by its euphoric production which follows Eggy faithfully like a spotlight, a companion in the dark. “In that time, I felt like I was really insular,” they reflect. “I was writing a lot of poetry day to day, and I’d just moved to a new flat. I knew we had this deadline, and I became slightly nocturnal, walking around at really odd times in the very early morning writing lyrics.” There is a particular song on the record which Eggy found it frightening to let go of. ‘Stranger’ is about their personal experience as a non-binary individual, touching on themes of gender dysphoria and highlights how the smallest things can carry the most weight. But with the lightness of the beat, there is relief.

 ‘Marmite’ is an exorcism of anger, a battle between bitter words and sweet-sounding keys, and the roots of ‘Unpredictable’, an inky floor-filler, lies with a poem Eggy wrote about missing the simplicity of their early life but craving the complexity of the future which stretches out before them. It’s between those contradictions, the truths that co-exist rather than cancel each other out, that Porij have found a home. Teething proves that change can cut deep, but the propulsion to keep moving is what saves you.

Released 26th April 2024

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Porij - Teething

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