Early on his third record as Porches, The House, Aaron Maine outlines his rifting
desires: “I don’t wanna leave you out/I just wanna leave the house.” Though the
debate is seemingly simple (the classic “should I stay or should I go” scenario), at the
crux of the sentiment is an urgent need to exit the comfort of domesticity and be
one’s own person. The House is driven by this urge to step back and reconcile with
oneself. Whether examining identity through a relationship, nostalgia, or isolation,
the key to unlocking The House is the conscious act of renewal.
Unlike 2013’s rollicking indie rock crusher Slow Dance in the Cosmos or the lush
synth-pop of 2016’s Pool, Porches’ third record is a conscious effort in minimalism
and honesty. “While making Pool I learned how valuable the spirit of the demos are,”
says Aaron, “so for The House I made a point to try and capture the song the day it
was conceived.” He recorded only for “keeps” and initially limited himself to a 4-
track as a means of committing individual songs. Though he would later rework the
arrangements, Aaron focused intensely on recording the essence of the song,
embracing the imperfections of some of the performances in hopes of putting
forward something more honest. Though Aaron largely composes on his own, The
House features contributions by Alexander Giannascoli (Alex G), Dev Hynes (Blood
Orange), Maya Laner (True Blue, Porches), Kaya Wilkins (Okay Kaya), Bryndon Cook
(Starchild & the New Romantic), Cameron Wisch (Cende, Porches), Jason Arce,
Bea1991, and his own father, Peter Maine. As with Pool, Aaron brought his recorded
work to Chris Coady (Beach House, Slowdive, TV on the Radio), who then mixed The
House at his Sunset Sound studio.
In accordance with the raw recording process, The House finds Aaron saying less
with more intention. Because of his urgent desire to document immediate
sensations, The House’s fourteen tracks offer a series of diaristic vignettes. There are
moments of emerging from fear of ego death (“Leave the House,” “By My Side,” “Now
The Water”), escaping the corporeal (“Now The Water,” “Swimmer”), the terrifying
thrill of young love (“Country,” “W Longing”), and parting with the past (“Wobble,”
“Goodbye”). As on Pool, images of water suggesting salvation at every turn: “Think
I’ll go/Somewhere else/Where I can sink/Into myself” (“Find Me”); “can you make it
right/can you do no harm/break the water with your arms” (“Country”); “This cold
pool/Glowing against the night/Is the only thing/I believe is right” (“ W Longing”).
While these themes possibly paint The House in a dark light, the record is marked by
an excitement at the prospect of self-discovery, and commitment to the process of
getting there. “Find Me,” for example, touches on anxiety and isolation, but is put
forward as an icy dance track where one might be able to celebrate those two
emotions. The same paradox can be found in “Goodbye,” a piano track Aaron wrote
after taking a solo trip to his hometown. Though it is initially a melancholy reflection
of youth’s ephemerality, the chorus’ image of slipping into a lake invokes the beauty
that sometimes accompanies the act of letting go. “Now The Water” also features
one of The House’s most affecting images: “Red clutch farm kid not making a sound.”
As Aaron explains it, the image is of a rural adolescent who sneaks out into a field at
night. Only then, lying there alone while the world sleeps, do they truly feel in touch

with themselves. This idea of being fully oneself is the ultimate state of liberation,
and with The House, Aaron Maine creeps closer to realizing that goal for himself.