TAKE EFFECT - Communion In The Ashes - 9/10 9/10 Listen to Communion In The Ashes Though M. Lockwood Porter has made most of his music while living in the Bay Area, he’s now back in his home state of Oklahoma, and on his 4th album, Communion In The Ashes, he brings an anthemic quality to songs about modern day social problems, something he experienced first hand during his time as an educator. The title track starts the album with driving guitars and a thriving rock’n’roll spirit that’s somewhere between power-pop and alt-rock, and “Waiting For A Sign” brings keys...
I'm glad that this is the album that puts M. Lockwood Porter on the radar. It's Porter's fourth full-length and is the crystallization of a number of themes Porter began to sketch out on his majestic How to Dream Again, a gentle but full-throated anticipation of the Trump era. (PS -- if you need a blueprint for how to stay sane, I highly recommend listening to that album as early and often as possible.)
The obvious dual influences of Springsteen and Dylan are present here, especially in his lyrics (“Get Back To The Wild” is truly one of the best spiritual anthems to come out in years), but you can also glimpse nods to others like Bright Eyes and Kristofferson.
This is an album that defies easy classification. If The Stranger fromThe Big Lebowskilistened to this album, he might well say “Sometimes there’s an album, and it’s the album for its time and place.” And he’d be right. Porter demonstrates that you don’t need excessive volume to be powerful.
Americana rocker M. Lockwood Porter is a courageous kind of guy. His astounding and emotionally-cutting new record, Communion in the Ashes, is a soul-draining expedition through a world he perceives as one not far removed from a sci-fi dystopia. “Broken Light,” which opens on stark ivories and his voice calling from across a fog, laments the descending darkness of “false prophets” and his attempts to wade through it all with only shards of brightness pinging from his soul.