Port St. Willow’s first full-length album entitled “Holiday” has left me speechless for several days. I have had this 55-minute ambient/folk picturesque artwork on repeat, and don’t tend on changing that anytime soon. This album in three words. Tyrant. Smoke. Motion.
I would describe Nick Principe’s project Port St. Willow to our readers unfamiliar with his work as the boiling narrative of Youth Lagoon’s Year of Hibernation sung with beautiful vocals similar to Peter Silberman of the Antlers, mixed with the atmosphere of a Grouper album.
I would listen to this album from beginning to end for the full effect, but the first track that stood out to me was “Tourist”, a song that sounds like a chase between a beast and prey. On second listen my favorite track was "Orphan" for the powerful vocals. There are some slower more peaceful tracks such as "North" that build into the more powerful, and that is why I suggest you listen to the album from front to back. I was impressed with the horn and trumpet use, especially in "North", without being too overbearing to the overall track. As of now my favorite track is the "Consumed", lyrics from Consumed overflow with meaning, and will shake you down to your bones in the most personal way. The pulsating drums coexist with a glass melody in an very well written conclusion.
Holiday could very easily (and very unfairly) slip under the radar in 2012 with so many great albums being released every month, but it is clear that Nick Principe is pushing Musical (uppercase m) boundaries forward within his own construct, and deserves some recognition for one of the greatest pieces of gut-wrenchingly passionate artwork ever created.