Porter Harp’s Drinking Season starts off on a definite high point. “Don’t Ask Them” rides on long, bass-heavy metal guitar riffs leached of distortion and slowed to the pace of a southern drawl. From this track on I was expecting alt-country, but I slowly became mired in craptacular southern rock, with a couple of electronics stolen from Grandaddy’s synth bin.
Harp’s not quite twangy nasal baritone alternates between grating and appropriate. On “Cary” (which sounds like it was written by an E-Bow drunken Neil Diamond), it makes it that much harder to listen to, if such a thing is possible. On the other hand, his schmoove Tom Petty imitation works well on the oscillating wah-wah ode “I Wish You Well.”
What ultimately brings the album down is the unending, unnecessary solos that close out nearly every song. The discordant noodling on “Painful” is a nice touch compared to the blatant “Freebird” groping of many of the five other five-minute-plus tracks.
I only wish uber-producer Phil Ek (Modest Mouse, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Vells) could have reined in some of these less tasteful qualities because I can spot some buried moments of promise to back up “Don’t Ask Them.” But on this album they’re lost under so much matted mullet rock that I have no interest in searching for them again.
Porter Harp: http://www.porterharp.com/