TRUE BLUE: EDGE OF

Porches bassist turned solo artist, Maya Laner, wants you to know that she’s not playing around with her new alias, True Blue. Laner told Interview Magazine, “I just don’t want to sound whimsical. That’s my worst nightmare.” Maybe this concern comes as a side effect of the project’s accessibility, as Edge Of is filled with earworms and sticky hooks. At just over fifteen minutes, it is easy to breeze through a showcasing of synth pop, bedroom pop, and blissed out ballads without noticing the immersive strength of this experience. Edge Of comes from extensive reflection seen in the raw intimate scene of “Bad Behavior.” Ultimately, Laner finds “Mirror Power” in being able to examine herself and coexist with what she finds.

Maya got started when her brother heard the beat driven instrumentals she was working on and told her to build on them. True to this origin, Laner is able to create real fireworks with the vibey, beat-driven compositions in the middle of the album. From the augmented carnival of “Rocky Bottom,” predatory bass line on “Tell Me Texas,” and psych trance of “Mirror Power,” the majority of this release is a series of sharp motifs playing off of one another in smart equilibrium.

Laner has assembled the all-star cast of support and industry connections for this project indicative of her work with Porches and some of her past collaborations like Alex G. The project’s lead single, “Bad Behavior,” was overseen by Jake Aron, known for his work with Solange, Grizzly Bear, and Snail Mail, to name a few. Joe Valle of Wet was named as her main collaborator in an Instagram post prior to the album being released. Despite this, Laner is successful because what we hear on this debut mirrors her working alone in the satin-lined closet of her Williamsburg apartment as she positions herself at the center of this creative universe.

Laner is most placed at the forefront on the stripped back ballads serving as the intro and outro. “Bad Behavior” and “Edge Of” absolutely aren’t half-cooked in their production; the wafting synth accentuating the intro’s trap-snare waltz is sharp and the imposing, sustained piano chords to conclude the album are sprinkled with contrasting percussion pieces. Still, they position Maya as the spotlight in a way that the bulk of the project spreads more evenly. “Bad Behavior” also features the lyrical high-water mark with tangible, narrative lines like, ‘I shouldn’t have dug my nails in again, I should know, leaves a mark on the skin’ confining the vocal section as smoky reflections over a claustrophobic dinner table.

Laner says she is writing and has some material just about finished. She is set to tour as True Blue for a half dozen east coast shows in September, and then more extensively with Porches until late this year.

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NATHAN WHITTLE