In advance of Friday’s release of Port St. Willow‘s sophomore album Syncope, the band celebrated the release with a show last Tuesday at New York City’s (le) poisson rouge with Bing & Ruth and Julie Bryne, playing Syncope in it’s entirety. Syncope is a stunning new album, meant to be heard as a full album, not as singles.
Back in 2012, Nicholas Principe released the first Port St. Willow album, Holiday, seemingly out of nowhere. Slowly the name started creeping around in different circles until Brian Eno himself got a hold of it telling Mother Jones:
“I just heard a record last month by Port St. Willow… which I became completely entranced by,” he said. “I just thought how amazing that somebody could take the same few chords, pretty much the same sorts of sounds – it’s quite hard to tell what is original about it, but I just know I’ve never heard it before. It’s such a fabulous record.”
In late 2012 Holiday reached our wide OpenEars, and we were obsessed. It was one of the most stunningly beautiful debut records we ever heard. We had to hear more, we had to know more, we had to see Port St. Willow live and experience it for ourselves. Holiday was one of our top records, really in 2012, and stuck with us through a reissue via Downtown Records in 2013 as more ears became aware of this magnificent band.
Much like The Antlers’ Peter Silberman, who have heaped their share of praise on this band, Nicholas Principe’s falsetto is one of not many that can reach similar heights like Peter’s. It’s incredible really when you hear the first few notes, which sound gender neutral, or is it even really a person? He melds his voice perfectly into the soundscapes he is creating, becoming one cohesive unit that enables you to lose yourself within. These are similar principles that The Antlers have built their following on, so it’s no wonder Peter Silberman works on Syncope with the band alongside other contributors: Will Epstein (Nicolas Jaar, High Water) and David Moore (Bing & Ruth) .
Syncope is an entirely visual album, vision seen through your ears. Even in the comfort of your own home, with no fancy light show, you can close your eyes, listening to this album, and see your own version of the exact visual effects Nicholas is conveying through his music. The album plays perfectly together as it takes you through a journey of emotions, within tracks, and across the album. Feelings of hopefulness and hopelessness tug at your heart strings as you listen along. It’s an album that makes you feel alive while all at once being in a different universe. The album is “An expression of love in response to sudden change, and the patient steps forward of a rebirth.” The emotions you are feeling are real and inside of you. Buy Syncope here and allow Port St. Willow to take you on that journey.
Listen to “Ordinary Pleasure” off of Syncope on Soundcloud: