It’s fair to say that the debut album of Rome-turned-London-turned-New York musician Mauro Remiddi has been a long time coming. The highly versatile Italian has soundtracked films, played piano for a tap dance Broadway show and even had a stint in the Berlin Youth Circus before deciding to concentrate his musical experience into his Porcelain Raft guise. It’s a move that has been highly promising for fans of dreamy pop music, as Remiddi’s veritable influx of EPs and singles released predominantly via his Bandcamp have been consistently adored by listeners and covered by blogs for all the right reasons.
Being so prolific and unswervingly wonderful with his previous releases, Strange Weekend was never really going to be a failure. In fact, Remiddi has produced a truly excellent record which resonates emotionally and sonically. The first half of the record is unequivocally immediate, synth-driven opener “Drifting In and Out” sails rather than drifts as Remiddi poses his opening gambit “take me away directionless, it doesn’t have to make any sense”; a line reflective of Remiddi’s own abstract approach to music (this is a man known for coming up with song titles based on random newspaper headline clippings).
Elsewhere on the record’s first half “Shapeless & Gone” acts as a spacious track that evokes some of the dreamy, less-dire moments of MGMT’s Congratulations (Think “I Found a Whistle” and “Someone’s Missing”). “Is It Too Deep For You?” is a chilled track that gradually sprawls out into something not too far off from Deerhunter’s more poignant moments with the occasional Brian Eno style synth dial twiddle spliced in for good measure. The album’s arguably most danceable and melodic song comes in the form of “Put Me to Sleep,” the infectious oscillating beat masking the track seemingly dealing with the rather morbid topic of death, which also segueing neatly into the more emotionally deep second half, where Porcelain Raft really tries to set himself out above the rest.
“The End of Silence” is an unmistakable stand-out. A stunning echoed ballad with impassioned vocals and monumental musical scope, it’s a moment of beauty as Remiddi’s reverberated and tender voice pleads “Tell me if it’s true” over expansive guitar plucks. “If You Have a Wish” is similarly affecting, this time appropriating Remiddi’s hushed vocals on top of a slowed down Portishead-type hip-hop beat. Both these tracks show more versatility to Porcelain Raft, a key factor into why this album isn’t just a run-of-the-mill selection of tracks. The juxtaposition of more melodic pop tracks and slow-burning heart-string pluckers is truly a winning formula in this instance and proof (if needed) that Mauro Remiddi is a highly talented musician with great imagination and vision. It would appear that the porcelain raft is sturdy as it rides the waves of dream pop.