A porcelain raft conjures the image of sinking like a stone, but the feeling on Strange Weekend is more about ascending. The debut album from Italian-born singer-songwriter Mauro Remiddi is built entirely on atmosphere, and a bubbly one at that. A mix of psychedelic echoes, pulled out synths, meandering guitar lines, and an ethereal falsetto mark each song. There’s a lightness to the tracks. This is dream pop. Tested through a series of EPs on his Bandcamp page, the full-length keeps it concise with ten airy tracks.
The record excels when there is a stronger sense of structure, as on opener “Drifting In And Out” and “Unless You Speak From Your Heart,” where Remiddi gives us a memorable hook. When the songs are this sweet, you want something to take with you. Less successful moments occur when the haze almost becomes unrecognizable (“Porcelain Hands”), the production literally buries the track (“If You Have A Wish”), or when what could have been a beautifully mastered pop song feels undone (“Picture”).
As a whole, the album is listenable and enjoyable, reminiscent of Ariel Pink and Washed Out. If there is any criticism to be made, it is that the homemade feeling that Remiddi is going for here sometimes tends to hinder rather then liberate the record. The overused term ‘bedroom pop’ does apply, but Remiddi is too talented to allow the standout tracks to take the shine away from those that feel like demos.
All in all, Porcelain Raft has enough at his core–the meeting of a soft fragility and a strong foundation–that it will be exciting to see what he does next. Especially if what he does next involves flushing out a more structured record.