Review of "Portico" By The Mary Onettes. "Portico" comes out on March 4th via Swedish label Labrador records. The Mary Onettes play March 3 in New York City

Artist: The Mary Onettes
Title: Portico
Record Label: Labrador
Rating: 5.0/10

Ever pondered what would have happened if New Order had played the Hacienda but at half the speed, to a meagre crowd of people coming down from disco biscuits? Haven’t we all?! The search is over in the guise of The Mary Onettes mini LP, Portico. This is the Swedish band’s follow up to last year’s record, Hit The Waves, a small selection of lethargic dream-pop nuggets that sounds like a million bands you’ve heard before but can’t remember their names. The quartet’s stop-gap is a threadbare effort bound together by vapour-like synths, reverb drenched vocals and a ghostly vacant demeanour that struggles to leave any kind of lasting impact.

Figurehead of the group, Philip Ekstrom declared Portico is inspired by science fiction and old photography books. “We decided it could be a journey into space. A silent hunt for something else. We always end up seeing our albums as small films. And Portico: would definitely be our little space saga. It’s a bit of a spiritual album. I want to get connected to nothingness” – this is how Ekstrom set the scene for the four piece’s latest release. In the terms of concise summaries, the group’s lynchpin has achieved this exactly; Portico invokes the imagery of retro journeys into deep space, wonky 70’s sets and grainy depictions of space aliens made from simple glove puppets. As for “connected to nothingness”, at times Portico is so non-existent, the seven tracks can simply pass you by without interrupting your day dream. Unlike The xx who use silence and space to their advantage, The Mary Onettes sonic delivery feels lost in its minimal universe.

It’s been said the Swedes begun The Mary Onettes with a common love for 80’s and 90’s bands such as The Stone Roses and The Cure. We’d also lump in Manchester acts The Smiths and the aforementioned New Order, all down to the whimsical use of jangled, pedestrian guitar lines and the deployment of comatosed beats that plod and shake with the urgency of a sleep deprived snail.

In the pursuit for nothingness, The Mary Onettes have forged the audio equivalent of a vacuum with Portico – in space no-one can hear you yawn. 

Words and Thought of Adam Williams

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