EP Review: Portair – The Place to Start

Portair is an Australia-born, Los Angeles, USA-based indie pop singer songwriter who has just come to my attention thanks to his new EP The Place to Start. A philosophical collection, it reflects on the brevity of ours lives when placed on a cosmic scale, and somehow finds comfort in it.

By Graeme Smith

A singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, graphic designer and artist, Portair is a man of many talents. For this new EP, he took on a lot of the work himself, including playing drums, guitar and synths. Yet, the EP is also enriched with the talents of others, including Keaton Henson who co-wrote the track Stand In Tall Ovation, and Amber Run’s Joshua Keogh, who provides additional vocals on its title track.

The EP opens with Hellbent. A pensive, echoing guitar riff sets the early tone before cantering percussion and soulful vocals come in. Added strings and rock instrumentals create an emotional soundscape, and its powerful, sweeping chorus is a triumph. It’s a fantastic start.

Title track The Place to Start is brooding and atmospheric. The tempo is slightly slower but none of the energy is lost, and its lyrical message is uplifting. The vocal harmonies in the chorus are stand out. Coral features intricate guitar and an intimate feel. Electronic layers add to its lushness. It’s a textured highlight.

Scotch Tape is a delicately lilting track with a sense of nostalgia in its descriptive lyrics. Stand in Tall Ovation is slow-burning and acoustic before exploding into a cinematic pop rock crescendo. Starring closes the EP with a simmering, sultry number. Its lyrics are a poetic highlight.

Our American readers can look forward to catching Portair on tour with Me nd Adam and Mystery Skulls this month. The Place to Start is out now via Nettwerk Music Group. You can give it a listen below.