Pores // Zero Swim
Recommended Track(s): Teletext
The opening number, “Channel 98″, is over before it gets where it’s going, but it does serve as a portend or promotional trailer to the remaining 11 song-movie that is Zero Swim, the latest album by Pores, a rock band from Huntington Beach.
For the record, I reviewed In Three Colors, an earlier Pores release for this same outlet. I liked it, particularly the peculiarly titled track “Outro/21st Century N/8.” My one criticism was that at 12 songs it seemed too ambitious and a bit of an overreach. Consequently, it bugged me when I saw that Zero Swim has, you guessed it, 12 songs. One of which, “German Autumn”, is almost 11 minutes long (the length itself a pet peeve). Additionally, it was obvious right away that Pores didn’t veer vary far from their wheelhouse of influences. No need to run down the list, suffice it to say a Who’s Who of classic post punk. Fortunately for me, my irritation at what I thought would be a less than repeat disappeared at precisely the moment the vocals and guitar kicked in on the second song “Calico Train Mine Ride”. From that moment on I just blissfully rode the wave and enjoyed the ride.
Larry Holmes became heavyweight champion of the world with essentially just one main weapon, a great left jab. The lesson learned, play to your strengths, and do what you do well. Zero Swim is a collection of songs made by a group confident in what they do, and honestly, isn’t that what distinguishes rock stars from musicians who just rock. There is a continuity or uniformity to Zero Swim, but that should not be mistaken for sameness. The variety in feeling, energy, and tempo varies, making each song an entity in itself.
There was no connection to Knott’s Berry Farm that I could discern on “Calico Train Mine Ride,” just a slow heavy beat, bright lead guitar lines that shimmered like stars, and yammering vocals just short of deranged. My favorite track, “Teletext”, kills two birds with one stone. During the first half of the song I felt as if I was dancing underwater to shifting currents while watching submarines pass by, suddenly the mood and groove changes to my favorite kind of riff heavy guitar, the vocals sneering, and then it ends.
Other tracks that stood out were “I Got The Key(s)” and “Big Little Door.” “I Got The Key(s)” is a straight ahead rock n roll tune that is either about the key to the heart of the object ones desire, adolescent joy at access to the family liquor cabinet, or maybe something else. “Big Little Door” is heavy right out of the gate which only makes it more dramatic when the brakes are applied before finishing out hard again. By the time I got to the last song, “German Autumn” (admittedly still a long opus), I decided to let it go and just enjoy life, in this case the sounds that pleasantly washed over me, a musical nod to the confidence and ability of Pores.