- It's arguably as tough to explore the same stylistic territory for large parts of your career as it is to constantly veer off into the unknown. Assured deep house consistency, though, is exactly what Jamie Odell has excelled at for almost two decades now (before, during and likely after it was en vogue), providing the backbone for his own Freerange label while also steering Delusions Of Grandeur through more disco-leaning fare. Odell has also been adept at tweaking his game for the long-player format over the years. Porchlights & Rockingchairs is the sixth example of that.
Where broken beat excursions, jazz and downtempo vibes have all been hallmarks of his previous efforts, this one has taken its cues from "countless hours spent exhausted or hungover in airport lounges on the way back from gigs." In some ways you can tell, in others you can't. The mood throughout is certainly reflective and dreamy—nothing is ever in your face—but there's also a perfectionism to every single layer of every track that belies anything other than a wholly lucid state. Sometimes that polished sheen is hard to penetrate, reflecting your attention rather than arresting it, which is odd given the album was made largely on hardware to avoid the pitfalls of "sterile" plug-ins.
One thing is for sure: Porchlights & Rockingchairs is a very musical affair. Shimmering chords light up the restrained "Hold My Hand," and a Smallville-esque piano riddles the claggy percussion of "High Wire" with a nagging sense of loss. Molten adult lullabies like "Wanting You" and the electronic hymn "Brought To Bare" prove Odell's fine sense of mood and melody. There are no '90s stabs here, but plenty of catchy, well-designed hooks that never fail to weave their way into your brain.
The highlights come in the second half, after some of the initial glow has begun to slip away. Deeper, darker cuts like "The Glowing Embers" and "Towards The Sheer" stand out for their stripped-down and shady sound design, but still the overall experience is one of mature house sophistication.
01. Jasmine Dragon
02. Dance Of The Pharoes
03. Hold My Hand
04. Brought To Bare feat. Jonatan BÃƒÂ¤ckelie
05. High Wire
07. Wanting You
08. Porchlight and Rockingchairs
09. Cracks In The Pavement
10. Towards The Seer
11. The Glowing Embers
12. These Times feat. Jinadu (LP Version)