Album reviews: Porridge Radio – Every Bad, and Code Orange – Underneath

The Brighton-formed Porridge Radio land an impressive debut with ‘Every Bad’, while Code Orange reassert themselves as hardcore titans on ‘Underneath’

Roisin O'Connor
Friday 13 March 2020 10:49 GMT

Porridge Radio Every Bad


“I’m bored to death, let’s argue,” intones Porridge Radio frontwoman Dana Margolin, in the opening moments of their debut album Every Bad. Few first lines this year have felt quite so relevant – of late it feels as though we’ll all be arguing until we die (if coronavirus doesn’t get us first).

Margolin relishes conflict, or rather, she seems fascinated by what exactly drives us to it. Early single “Sweet” examines the bliss of leaving old grudges behind, while “Give/Take” rollicks along with a push-pull motion as Margolin questions social niceties, particularly those forced on women: “How do I say ‘no’ without being a bitch?” she demands. At times she’s right up in your face, snarling; elsewhere she sounds like she’s examining her nails as she delivers lyrics in a slow, sardonic drawl.

But then comes “Lilac”, with its steady chug of guitar and rush of strings. “I want us to get better,” Margolin pleads, “I want us to be kinder to ourselves.” Her voice grows to a shriek and the refrain swells until it threatens to overwhelm. Every Bad is a relinquishing of whatever it is that keeps us from baring our souls, and an unleashing of frustration at how, like children riding a carousel, we’re all just going round in circles.

Code OrangeUnderneath


Code Orange’s posturing over fellow metal bands is antagonistic at best. Yet their new album, Underneath, and its 2017 predecessor, Forever, will convince you it’s warranted. Both are phenomenally ambitious records; if the Grammy-nominated Forever was their blistering hellscape, Underneath is a glitchy, industrial wasteland.

A number of tracks are loaded with distorted, often indecipherable vocals, but the US band have chosen to leave other areas clean, with more melody and greater calm between the maelstroms. “Swallowing the Rabbit Whole” or “Erasure Scan”, the latter with its pistol start, are instances of them straining at their very limits, seeing just how far they can go.

Underneath is about peeling back the layers and discovering what’s beneath the surface – whether you like what you find, or not.

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