Traversing the blurred lines between human life and technology, Portal Gun captivates with their thought-provoking exploration of our tech-driven society.
Warrnambool psych fusion four–piece Portal Gun release their debut album, Synthetic Society, an eight-track concept record that traverses the blurred lines between human life and the omnipresence of technology; with our achingly obvious dependency on tech at the forefront.
Synthetic Society is a warm blend of cyclical, hypnotising bass lines on top of tight, relentless drum grooves, bathed in psychedelic ambience. Edward Jacobs’ smooth yet demanding vocal delivery is both soothing and eliciting.
With aptly titled tracks such as Mind Virus, Archetypal Characters and Dawn After the Apocalypse, Portal Gun succeed in their efforts of world-building, painting a grim sonic picture of our approaching future – or more accurately, our developing present.
Third track, Mind Virus, doused in layered, verb soaked guitars and spaced out synths is a visceral experience. The panic inducing four-minute journey propels us into dystopia, opening with a riff that could have been both a Psychedelic Porn Crumpets and Metallica staple, Jacobs’ sings, continuing to grow/my virus in control, as Tim Bayne drives the band into an intoxicating state of up-tempo madness.
Portal Gun take their time exploring the universe they’ve created, never rushing nor dragging, yet making sure every stone has been thoroughly turned.
Archetypal Characters is a welcomed change in energy. Jacobs’ voice drops into a register reminiscent of Julian Casablancas’ melancholy, languid delivery. The band themselves are both formless and tight, taking turns to illuminate one another in ways that only further serve the collective purpose.
There is a restraint to Portal Gun’s commentary, one that makes the presiding theme that much more digestible. There is no pressure to consider their point of view, but their sonic landscape makes it impossible not to.
In Synthetic Society, Portal Gun have found a delectable sweet spot between chaos and release. It’s hard to imagine such a cohesive, confident effort could be the band’s first full-length expedition, though their sureness only breeds excitement for whatever world they choose to create next.
The closing track, Dawn After The Apocalypse is a rumination on all that has passed before it. A soft landing place to consider all that has been placed before us. But mostly, the finale of this record just encourages a return to the beginning.
Stream Synthetic Society below.
Reviewed by Caitlin Norris