Review: Portable

“Only if You Look Up”
(TVT Records)

Ever ride The Big Dipper at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk?  It’s sort of wack because that first drop is pretty fun but after that it’s just a series of little peaks and valleys until it comes to an end with a whimper rather than a bang.  The same could be said for Portable’s sophomore record from TVT-a promising beginning followed a rattling, shaking, nausea-inducing experience.  “Only if You Look Up” sounds a bit like a collaborative effort between Stone Temple Pilots, Smashing Pumpkins, and U2.  I suppose that’s more or less to be expected, as Portable hooked up with producer Brad Wood, whose credits included two of the aforementioned artists.  Portable really stretches to prove they’re a diverse, multifaceted band by juxtaposing slower, quirky stuff with faster rock influenced tracks.  Normally, this is the sort of thing I enjoy, but it’s almost like the musical chef wasn’t properly trained and all the food at the auditory buffet wound up pretty bland and unimpressive.  While it’s not something that you’d immediately spit out of your mouth like that stuff they make you eat on “Fear Factor”, it’s certainly not something you’d relish on the way down.