Please Be Kind
Head Portals = Brand New + Band of Horses + Thee Oh Sees
“Assume the worst and dive right in” are the first lyrics you hear on Head Portal’s third studio album, Please Be Kind, setting the emotional tone throughout the following eight tracks. This record portrays an array of indie-rock sounds with moments that bleed into fuzz-laden shoegaze.
Please Be Kind is reminiscent of early 2010s alternative rock, a quality which has a soothing nostalgic effect. This is prominent on the second track, “Slough,” where the ear-catching vocal harmonies between Head Portals’ lead MLH and guest Marny Lion Proudfit build up and release into a high-tension chorus of multiple screams. On the song “New Disguise,” Colby Edwards’ percussion stands out by driving the elevated sentiment of MLH’s lyrics.
It’s around mid-album when hints of shoegaze start to emerge with the back-to–back tracks “The Slip” and “Something On.” The music melts from reverse samples and guitar effects into acoustic rhythms and electric leads. This transition gives a slight psychedelic feel before flowing back and forth between heavy distortion and delayed-effect arpeggios on “Something On.”
The last song, “$,” brings the initial thesis of the album full circle with a spoken word by Parker Crossland, accompanied by buzzing instrumentation. Crossland describes an experience that happened to him while meditating, with thoughts running through his head such as, “Salt Lake City resident meditates himself to death.” Here, Crossland contemplates the bizarre factors that surround mortality. This 9-plus minute story ends with a sense of enlightenment only found after an out-of-body experience.
Please Be Kind dedicates a lot of time to instrumentals that sway between different eras of indie rock sounds. Sonically, it captures a relatable feeling of an individual trying to figure out how to deal with all the highs and lows of life, perhaps with the fuzz tones orchestrating the frustration that comes with it. Ultimately, Head Portals’ newest release is looking at the glass half full with the lasting thoughts, “Life is short / Please be kind to yourself and others.” –Kenz Waldon