Once upon a time, Joe Wash recorded Tendrils, a bedroom pop album under the Dignan Porch moniker. Two years later, Dignan Porch is back with Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen, but this sophomore album is actually the first recorded as a band. Hailing from South London, the now-quintet is still keeping it DIY, the disc having been recorded live on reel-to-reel with scarce overdubbing, hearkening back to the college rock likes of Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, right? Of course, some albums are capable of reinterpreting the familiar in a manner that keeps it fresh, rather than offering multiple variations of the same theme. In the case of Dignan Porch, it’s a little of both. Bleary, hazy, and minimally produced are all key terms for describing Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen, danger signs for albums in this field. Its treble-drenched guitar strums and nonchalant melodies generally blend together into a cloud of indistinction, but there are still some nuggets of gold for those with enough patience with the genre to have a dig.
The album’s lo-fi stylings work best when everything comes together with an element of surprise. Dignan Porch digs deeper into the past on “Sad Shape”, where a driving rhythm, sub-Casio discordance, and drugged-out guitar licks make for a psychedelic jam that can only come from a group of collaborators successfully finding their groove. Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen’s guitar work exhibits some sparks of life beneath the stoned, lethargic fog, notably the extensive, tripped-out guitar solo on “Pink Oil”, but most impressive is “Darkness”, where the riffs are submerged in the murky depths of an abyss, complete with campy UFO sound effects straight out of the 50s, as Walsh nonchalantly sings about finding nothing but light in the song’s namesake.
The charms of Dignan Porch are downright irresistible on these fresh spins on the tried and true aesthetic, but such moments are short in number. Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen, as a whole, doesn’t contribute anything terribly original to the genre, and as such doesn’t make much of a lasting impression on the listener.
Essential Tracks: “Darkness”, “Sad Shape”