Label: Captured Tracks Release date: 30/03/10 Link: Myspace It may come as a surprise to learn that after listening to the hazy, lazy, lo-fi psychedelia of Dignan Porch’s debut album Tendrils, that this laid back quartet hail not from Portland, Oregon or a commune in upstate New York, but in fact from south London suburb Tooting, an area known more for it’s Madras than it’s hippy credentials. Created entirely in a bedroom in SW16, exactly how they came about developing their trippy style is a bit of a mystery (perhaps they ate too many Calipos at Tooting Lido in their childhood?) but it is this strange dichotomy of origin and art that makes Tendrils such a joy to behold. It will come as no surprise however to hear that this record is a little reminiscent at times of the The Polyphonic Spree's more tender moments, and Dignan Porch's effort certainly creates a similar ambience. Yet, it is the charmingly homemade and slightly off kilter rootsy feel that runs throughout the record that sets them apart from their more polished American cousins. With tracks titles like ‘Flowers In May’, ‘We Sat On The Hill’ and obscure interlude ‘I Am The Hedge’ (Yes, of course you are dear, now put that spliff down...), the album is steeped in nature and the idyllic, made even more surprising given the band’s urban base. Stand out track and single ‘As You Were’ is by far the most commercial sound they produce on the album and is a catchy little number. Beyond this, it sounds rather too familiar, in fact it is exactly what Scandinavian popstrels I’m From Barcelona would sound like if they had spent the past week on a diazepam fuelled bender. It’s charming and cutesy, just the right side of saccharin. Album highlight ‘A Person’ sees Dignan Porch defuzz their feedback and tighten up their guitars, resulting in a delicate and tender slice of stripped down acoustica standing out like a beacon of crisp definition floating in a sea of murky distortion. The results are truly lovely. Muffled lo-fi guitars snuggle up comfortably with drawling and sleepy vocals throughout the album with each track seeming to melt seamlessly into the next. In fact, at a miniscule total length of 26 minutes, by the time you have tuned in and dropped out to the comatose speed of the record, it’s over. Lyrics are somewhat lost in the lazy falsetto drawl, so you never quite catch what they are singing about, which may be an irrelevance since perhaps it is a feeling (a vibe, maaan) rather than a direct statement that they are trying to project. At a time when dead-eyed plastic pop stars and money hungry media moguls seem deadset on destroying all that is creative and original in the music industry, Tendrils is an oasis of lo-fi calm and wonder amid a wilderness of tired samples and over production. A breath of fresh South London air. In the words of counter culture guru Ken Kesey ‘You’re either on the bus or off the bus’ and in the case of Dignan Porch I am reloading my Oyster card as we speak. Photobucket