Portion Control – Unrest in the Grime


[Reviewed by Peter Marks]

This is the closest you will ever get to an invitation to PC headquarters during operations; Portion Control are a band who guard their creative process rather zealously almost to the point of a total blackout. Communications are terse and kept to a minimum while recording is going on and so you can imagine what a treat this little collection is… well-come to the bunker, dear readers. Keep quiet and hopefully they’ll just go about their business without noticing.

Just about every other band I know of would treat these compositions as the finished product, but John and Dean are perfectionists who won’t let anything – and I do mean anything – out until it has been exhaustively refined to their liking. Revision after revision doubtlessly takes place, but the results are impeccable. You know when you cross their palms with silver that you’re getting the goods, no questions ever linger in your mind as to whether or not you’ve chosen wisely. So while we’re waiting for them to grace us with another fastidious study in electronic detailing, here’s a bit of raw meat to gnaw on while they toil away.

It isn’t all just unreleased versions of songs on here, either. There are a few I don’t recognize at all which are highly atmospheric and recall the strange vistas they’ve given us via the ‘Onion Jack’ series. Not to worry, there’s still plenty of civil unrest to sink your synapses into. Piavanni’s vocals are gruffer and sometimes the songs themselves threaten to spin out of control like a multiple car pile up. The disturbing thing about so much of what is on here is how much anger these two can summon without raising their voices or the tempo. Some years ago, John Whybrew told me that it takes a lot to be Portion Control and when I hear a record like this, I begin to understand why.

Some won’t, some can’t and some just don’t get it. Why all the hoopla about this band, is there a reason why they’re so highly thought of. I’ll tell you this right now: for this to be referred to as just a collection of outtakes and demos cracks me up. Yeah, they might be that – to them. For the rest of us, ‘Unrest in the Grime’ is more of a good thing. A very very good thing.

Portion ControlUnrest in the Grime
Minimal Maximal, MM013
LP/CD 2014

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