U.K.-based quartet Porridge Radio have announced a new album, their third, and released the music video for its lead single and opening track, “Back to the Radio.” Coming May 20 on Secretly Canadian, Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky follows 2020’s Mercury Prize-nominated Every Bad, one of Paste’s favorite albums of that year.
“Back to the Radio” is the kind of song that will drive live audiences wild, opening on a single repeated guitar chord backgrounded by probing feedback, the intensity building as the lone guitar slowly grows more forceful. Frontperson Dana Margolin’s quavering, rhythmic vocals find her narrator confronting feelings of fear and inadequacy that have opened a gulf between her and the song’s subject (“Laughing and talking, but I want to cry to you”). Bassist Maddie Ryall, drummer Sam Yardley and keyboardist Georgie Stott all fall in around Margolin, with strings and horns by Maria Marzaioli and Freddy Wordsworth, respectively, uplifting the track through its heartbreaking, yet healing choruses: “Lock all the windows and shut all the doors and get into the house and lie down on the cold, hard floor / Talk back to the radio, think loud in the car, I miss everything now, we’re worth nothing at all.” Margolin’s vocal performance is the powerful song’s centerpiece—her voice overflows with raw emotion in its moving climax.
“‘Back to the Radio’ feels like a huge introductory hello or a big ceremonial goodbye,” says Margolin in a statement. “I wrote it at the end of 2019 when we were gearing up for the release of Every Bad and I felt like a lot of things were coming that I wasn?t sure I knew how to handle. The song grew out of a feeling of intense loneliness and being unprepared for what everybody was promising me was about to happen—and a strong desire to escape without knowing what I wanted to escape to. To me there’s a huge feeling of catharsis in this song, of letting go and letting it sweep you away.”
A press release describes Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky as “the sound of someone in their late twenties facing down the disappointment of love, and life, and figuring out how to exist in the world, without claiming any answers,” adding, “It’s also catchy as hell.” Margolin and Yardley co-produced the album with Tom Carmichael, aiming to craft a “panoramic and sparkling” sound—“I kept saying that I wanted everything to be ‘stadium-epic’—like Coldplay,” says Margolin. The album’s central image, inspired in part by a collage by artist Eileen Agar, connects to the Old Testament story of Jacob’s Ladder, which “symbolizes the ups and downs of human life, of virtue and transgression,” Margolin explains. “With this album, the feelings of joy, fear and endlessness coexist together.”
Watch the “Back to the Radio” video (dir. Dana’s sister, Ella Margolin) below, and see the details of Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky further down. You can preorder the album right here.
Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky Tracklist:
01. Back To The Radio
03. Birthday Party
04. End Of Last Year
06. U Can Be Happy If U Want To
09. I Hope She?s OK 2
11. The Rip
12. Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky
Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky Art: