Thursday 2 November 2023

Portable Radio - Counting To Three

Two things to know about Portable Radio: they like The Beach Boys a lot and Paul McCartney is their favourite Beatle. Counting To Three is an album of three-part harmonies, sentimental soft pop, featherlight psych and 1970s AM radio.

The third thing to know is that they’re not trying to be cool. Yes, Good News might sound a bit like Emitt Rhodes but it really sounds like ELO. Live Wire’s understated melodrama? That comes by way of The Commodores and The Carpenters.

If you want the melancholy of Big Star then listen to #1 Record. But if you want the melancholy songs of a band trying to make a number one record then listen to Portable Radio.

This is a wonderful collection of catchy, tightly written and dreamily romantic songs that richly deserve to nestle against your Bread records. They don’t sound like a million bucks, not quite, not yet. But give them the keys to Abbey Road Studios, a string quartet and a brass section, then they’ll sell a million records and lift the roof off the Royal Albert Hall.