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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE
Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"HeroHill reviews "First Neighbours""

Honestly, I’m not sure how many more terrific Canadian releases can dominate the early days of 2009. I already have three or four records that will contend for "Best-of" status - I’ve been impressed by Timber Timbre’s transformation, the maturity of Jenn Grant’s newest release, the heights reached by In-Flight Safety and still haven’t had enough time to talk about Bruce Peninsula - and it's not even February yet.

I guess complaining about too much good music in '09 would be like peering into the gullet of a gift horse and checking around, so I'll gladly jump all over a release that will probably be overlooked by many (the band flies so far under the radar they are kind of like that super smart plane in that terrible Jessica Biel/Jamie Foxx flick). East Van residents Portico are back with their third record, First Neighbours and even though we've gushed and gushed about this band before and set the bar really high for their output, Portico Fosbury flops over it with ease.

On first pass, there are so many things that stand out on First Neighbours; the way they balance heavy, distorted guitar with a surprisingly soft touch, melodies that bob along like the little white ball over top of the words on a karaoke machine, the classic “indie – when indie still meant something” rock feel of songs that talk about nothing more than love, awkward silences and f*cking and the way they can transform an instrument like a simple horn into a completely new sound, but it’s when you really dive in that the greatness of this record stand to surface.

It would be enough to go on and on about how god damn catchy this record is… how they don’t throw on superfluous layers and get a bigger, fuller sound with just a bass, drums, a guitar and some harmonies that most of the "collectives" that are cropping up everywhere and how even at 48 minutes, the record flies by way too fast. I could just talk about Lyn Heinemann’s voice is so unique, powerful enough to grab your ear but still feminine and soft, but when it comes to Portico, it’s more about what they say than just how well they say it.

Battle of Duck Lake crunches out of the gate with Mimi’s bass and Greg’s drums helping to form a three-headed beast, but it’s Lyn’s portrayal of the pain and anguish the Metis people suffered and the surge of the epic battle (mimicked nicely with the swirling, chaotic horn) they fought that makes this song so powerful. The simple, spot on riff that bounces along so effortlessly on I Heard There's Proof completely disguises her blunt attack on the gap between the have’s and have not’s that grows wider each year in Vancouver.

Whether its historical narratives - Frank Slide details the events of the tragic Alberta rock slide, A Year Between the Wars tells the story of a family in the Great Depression and the alienation and anger of racism showcased on Louis Riel Leaves The Collège De Montréal - or an honest look at the sex trade in East Vancouver (the heartbreaking Hallmark Poultry Ltd. - which I think is a track written by label mate Leah Abramson), Lyn manages to make each song like a personal experience, putting herself in the protagonist’s skins to recreate the powerful emotions.

The perfect thing about these songs is how the band understands the weight of the listen and seems to have a sixth sense of when to lighten the load. The band’s playful homage to the Pixies (the woo hoos and terrific bass line that fill out the last minute of I Heard There's Proof) forces you to forget the inevitable sadness you just heard and flows perfectly into Unreunion. Easily the most infectious melody of the record and Heinemann addresses the universal themes of love, break ups and the awkwardness of new relationships and new sex. When she admits, “I don’t really care if we can’t talk, we can always fuck”, some of your most awkward moments of your adolescence come flooding back to life.

The only thing stopping this band from being huge is the fact I’m not sure that’s something they even want. Portico seems more than happy to play shows, exist on a great label (Copperspine) that treats them well and write music on their own schedule. With all the one-hit, blog wonders and disappointing records out there, songs as refreshing as the ones on First Neighbours should not be passed up. - HeroHill

"Zunior reviews "First Neighbours""

"This release is a rock solid recording of a band that just has it. The songs are big and modest at the same time, and the vocals and lyrics are engaging and mysterious. This album has everything I love about top shelf independent music." - Zunior.com

"Americana UK review "First Neighbours""

"Utterly individual. Many cds cross this reviewer’s path, few are as immediate or life affirming. This is their time. 9 out of 10" - Americana UK

"FFWD Magazine reviews "First Neighbours""

"First Neighbours is a stunner from the first note…Portico have made the first perfect album of 2009." - FFWD Magazine

"Praise for "Progeny Blues""

"Portico are simply one of the best Canadian bands working today. Even if lead singer Lyn Heinemann wasn't a husky sweet powerhouse vocalist, the rest of the band have mastered the art of mixing delicate musical phrasing with mid-tempo urgency. Whether they function as a standard four-piece or flesh out the material with epic gang vocals, or a surprisingly effective horn section, there isn't one note out of place on Progeny Blues. The best thing about the album is that despite the totally modern sound, Portico is able to borrow quite heavily from the musical past. It's not just the references to vintage Face to Face and Phleg Camp in the lyrics either. The guitars tumble and cascade with Chicago post-rock precision and Heinemann channels such great indie rock divas as Liz Phair and Rebecca Gates while the crisp rhythm section keeps it all in check. With Progeny Blues, Portico surpasses their jaw-dropping debut and sets the bar high for any that try to follow them up." - FFWD Magazine

"Top Indie Picks of 2007"

“Somewhat of a late breaking news story for me, this album just recently jumped out of the pack. Imagine if a band could combine the best things about Nirvana's Nevermind and The Breeders Pod in one record. This release is a rock solid recording of a band that just has it. The songs are big and modest at the same time, and the vocals and lyrics are engaging and mysterious. This album has everything I love about top shelf independent music.” - Zunior.com (Dave Ullrich)

"The Hit - Portico's "We Built A Dynasty""

"The first ten seconds of Portico's new album Progeny Blues make you want to do that thing where you raise your fist high in the air and do air guitar with your other arm, in that special way that only indie-rock nerds can pull off, where they try to be all punk-rock but actually end up looking endearingly dorky, and then running off to dark corners to hug each other and talk about feelings. A short pretty burst of a song that nails down an impressive album right off the bat."
- Tooth and Dagger

"!Exclaim reviews Progeny Blues"

"A delightful leap forward from their debut, this is a confident-sounding sophomore release that is quite the thing of beauty when it connects. Although there is energy, it crackles just under the surface, only making overt appearances on some occasions. The band are going for atmosphere and they succeed quite nicely, as this album has a great consistent feel that makes it one of those listens that actually gets better if experienced as an album, rather than a collection of songs. But I would be doing a disservice if I didn't note some of the brighter spots, like gorgeous highpoint "Sincerely." A slow burn that gives its payoffs in layered horns and subtle orchestration, this is an emotional peak and the main piece of evidence that Portico have stepped their game up considerably. A more plaintive piece, but still lovingly elegiac, is "Grande Prairie," where Lyn Heinemann's voice sucks you in before the slow intensity of the song seals the deal. Something great is indeed brewing." - !Exclaim

"Critic's Pick - NOW Toronto"

“In a week with a plethora of record releases,
Vancouver-based pop band Portico will have a tough
time geting noticed. And that will be a shame, since
the group's second full-length is definitely worth a
trip to the record store.

There's a lot to like about this group, starting with
their crunchy guitars and Jale-like sound. While
they're not nearly as poppy as some of East Coast
mid-90s Canucks who clearly inspired them, they still
have a similar indie rock sound.

Standouts include All You Daughters and the relatively
upbeat Stand Down, but all the songs, despite being
mostly dark and serious, definitely deserve your attention.”


"Shape to Form" (Hinge Records, 2005)
"Progeny Blues" (Copperspine Records, 2007)
"First Neighbours" (Copperspine Records, 2009)



Portico is a hard-working band. They formed in June 2004, played their first show 3 weeks later, and recorded their first full-length album Shape To Form in October of that year. Shape To Form was released in November 2005 and chosen as one of 2005’s best records by Vancouver’s entertainment weekly, The Georgia Straight. In 2006 they recorded their second full-length, Progeny Blues, and released it in 2007 to wide acclaim including “Best Of ” lists in NOW, Zunior, and Wolves, Hawks and Kites, and 12 weeks on the CBC3 Top 30. They’ve toured extensively in Western Canada, embarked on a cross-country tour in summer 2007, played Calgary’s Sled Island festival in June 2008, and have shared the stage with favourite bands both little- and well-known including Chad VanGaalen, Mother Mother, and Pinback.
Portico has a Canada fetish. And why not? Like the land, their music is grand, complex, careful, and beautiful. With song titles like Grande Prairie and Kamouraska, and lyrics that detail everyday existence, you sometimes wonder whether the band set out to make a record or to write a book of short stories. Says lead singer/guitarist Lyn Heinemann: “We tend to champion the underdog, the irresistible sure-loser who no one is rooting for. Unnoticed adoration, boarded up small towns, frumpy ill-fated husbands, that’s what Portico writes about."
Live, Portico is searching for something close to perfection. Expertly intertwined guitar and bass lines and a rhythm section that is “tighter than a hipster's jeans” (herohill.com) show how well these kids know their instruments. With their third album, "First Neighbours" released in early 2009, Portico is ready to take you on.