By Cole Parker
It often seems that Portland, and the Pacific Northwest in general, is one of the last few areas where six strings still reign supreme. Poor English, a trio home-grown in the Rose City, kneel to the throne on their self-titled debut EP, with five songs that blaze new trails and hearken back to indie rock’s more celebrated past. Lead single “Everlaster” is the definite standout of that handful of tracks. Featuring extremely dense instrumentation packed with sporadic, mathy guitars, buzzing slides, a silky smooth bassline, and lead vocalist Joe Hadden’s impassioned pleas, it really shows off the band’s ability to harmonize what should sound like total chaos into a rock song with instant pop appeal.
That chaos is based on the sheer amount of effects, noise and musical fidgets – you get the impression that a Poor English stage is lined with pedals. Occasionally (like on closer “See Through”) they overpower what’s being played. It’s mostly done tastefully though, with seemingly random one-off riffs dashed with these effects adding to the overall experience.
Amid that muddle is Hadden and harmonizing back-up vocals repeating mantra-like hooks over quickly shifting riffs and rhythm lines, building tension in an extremely effective way. Frequently acting more like a rhythm guitar then a lead guitar, these choruses allow the listener to unpack the virtuous instrumentation while belting along to Hadden’s desperation.Poor English, Poor English EP