Filed under: Best of 2009 Albums | Tags: best of 2009, Cambria Goodwin, Port O'Brien, Releases of the Week
PREVIEW: Visit Port O’Brien’s MySpace
TOP TRACK: “My Will Is Good”
The Californians of Port O’Brien made their mark on the indie scene this year with a nautical-themed third release, Threadbare. The concept behind the record itself lies in the unfortunate passing of vocalist Cambria Goodwin’s younger brother. In the wake of the event, the group decided to dedicate the record to tracing the progression of constantly changing emotions that one experiences after the loss of a loved one. By bookending the record with the tracks “High Without Hope 3” and “High Without Hope”, the group sets the tone of the record and then successfully closes it on the same note.
While the concept behind the record is admittedly morbid, Port O’Brien refuses to be bogged down by the seriousness of the subject matter. The emotions present from track to track are constantly fluctuating (see the progression from “Sour Milk/Salt Water” to “Leap Year”), highlighting the group’s notable variety. They execute their lighthearted folk jams and introspective dirges equally well, making the record equally impressive from top to bottom.
In the end, Threadbare is heavy with emotional weight, but always pleasing to listen to. Port O’Brien draws on their nautical roots to create a truly beautiful homage to Goodwin’s brother. They separate themselves from the seas of neo-folk, spiritual-but-secular, that have flooded the scene as of late with Threadbare and place themselves solidly on our Top 20.