Album Review: The Portraits – For Our Times

You might recognise the soft lullaby melodies of The Portraits, otherwise known as the husband and wife duo Jeremy and Lorraine Millington as they took the world by storm back in January of 2015 as they reached the iTunes charts with their charity single The Rest of Time.

The duo have been working harder and harder ever since, focusing their talents on not only making their own music but helping others make theirs. Their latest and eighth studio album For Our Times takes their own unique and sentimental concepts and brings them to life with the help of local children from a nearby secondary school. They are a pair of artists who have such a powerful drive and passion, so much so but they cannot help but urge others on with theirs. For Our Times is a telling hark back to when folk music first emerged as the pair discuss topics like politics, segregation and the disparity of wealth in modern day society. Without fear or hesitation they delve into the murkiest of subjects and bring them bubbling to the surface, pushing them into the spotlight time and again. It’s so easy to turn a blind eye to the plights of the world, if you don’t like the news you can simply turn it off. If you don’t like what social media is saying then you can just look at some images of cats. But The Portraits are invading your musical space; their tunes and melodies are so beautifully harmonious and angelic that you cannot help but stare directly where they point you.

It’s a refreshing take really because while many others try and succeed in taking on these topics there is almost always a tang of sentiment, an aftertaste of morbidity that sours the experience. The real skill and treat that exists within The Portraits’ work is how upbeat and nonchalantly jovial their scores are. Take tracks like the wildly playful and enigmatic Wrong Kind of Love, which focus attention on the stigma that can still be seen in certain relationships but the music is so uplifting, decadent and positively brimming with a pure and unadulterated joy – it’s completely impossible not to be absorbed by their incredible work. Not simply powerful in their music but charmingly delicate wordsmiths the couple are strikingly careful in the content they bring to life and the stories they weave can find a way into any a heart without a flicker of doubt.

For Our Times is a daring album that doesn’t shy away from anything but it also presents it all with such a grandiose and undulating manner as they tie their words to music that drifts into the air like bubbles but crash down like tidal waves. On the surface they seem light and breezy, with their evocative and tender vocals and dancing melodies but this is all a façade as they stand brazenly with their hearts on their sleeves and bring you a collection of tunes that can redeem the darkest of days.

SOUNDCLOUD: https://soundcloud.com/theportraitsmusic

Review by Joe Knipe

 

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