What’s this? Another record from Front Porch Step romanticising unhealthy obsessions with girls? And just in time for Christmas! After all, you have nothing better to spend your cash on, do you?
Being a follow up to his 2013 debut LP, Aware, it’s no surprise that opening track A Lovely Mess shows slight progression from what was a spectacular album. Soft harmonies from a backing choir make a welcome appearance and more intricate guitar work show that Front Porch Step, aka Jake Mcelfresh, has matured musically – even if he has the emotional age of a fifteen year old.
Heaven Sent is more of a lullaby, but is nothing new from what was already done on Aware. The Early November’s Ace Enders’ guest vocals are supple in contrast to Mcelfresh’s hardened voice, but the duality is successful and easy to listen to.
Mcelfresh puts a modern, acoustic twist on Bing Crosby’s I’ll be Home for Christmas, but the song tragically falls short of the original. Whereas Crosby conjures the image of a tranquil couple cuddling by the fire, this is one of an over-enthusiastic boy singing his solo in the Christmas nativity. His vocals are too harsh to pull off the aged crooning of Crosby, and you’ll be thankful the track is only two and a half minutes long.
Perhaps the saving grace of the EP is the title track, Whole Again. Mcelfresh is at his best, showcasing his impressive lyrical proficiency with a vigorous passion to a simple but pleasant tune. Whole Again slowly builds up into a full-band instrumental that is far from disappointing. Crashing drums and a blues-style guitar solo culminate the track, and it’s nice to see Mcelfresh experimenting with different approaches to music.
Although there are highlights on this EP, you should probably just buy the LP Aware if you’re interested. It has more variety of theme (spoiler: one of them actually isn’t about an unattainable girl), similar songs and no covers. Congratulations, Front Porch Step, you are Taylor Swift with talent and a beard.