Retro Review: Ports of Spain – Tea Leaf Bloom EP (2015)

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A comeback record of sorts, the New Haven, CT duo Ports of Spain have found themselves reinvigorated by artistic adversity and created some of their most inspired music yet.  On the new Tea Leaf Bloom EP, the two-piece have made a trio, adding a third consistent release that sits nicely alongside the 2010 and 2012 Winter’s Teeth and Oh, Surrender EPs.  Like those previous efforts, the new batch of music integrates lean, literary songwriting with dynamic guitar loops.

Unlike many two-piece rock bands, Ports of Spain deviate from the standard singer-songwriter setup. Rather than just writing a song on guitar and simply adding drums to the mix, songs are written as a product of workmanlike jam sessions.  The chemistry between the two is apparent. Drummer Sam Carlson sings lead, allowing guitarist Ilya Gitelman the freedom to show off some serious technical prowess with a loop pedal. On the inevitable new live favorite “Brother”, Carlson’s drumwork and everyman voice bring a down-to-earth, human element to Gitelman’s intricately layered riffage and spacey guitar accents. Most welcome is the increase in production values, giving new fans a proper impression of the band and the longtime fans a new perspective.

Definitely Check Out: “Brother”, “Pleasantry Demands”

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