Front Porch Step – Whole Again

  • Dustin Blumhagen posted
  • Reviews

Front Porch Step

Whole Again - Pure Noise Records

Front Porch Step is the pseudonym of singer/ songwriter Jake Mcelfresh. After the surprise success of his debut full length, he is keeping the momentum building with this EP release. It is common to hear pop punk bands provide acoustic takes on their songs or stripped back covers for compilations and Front Porch Step takes things further by focusing on creating songs that he can play alone. 

For those who are new to Front Porch Step, this is the perfect starting place. He has undeniably grown as a musician between his debut and now, expanding his scrappy acoustic pop punk sound into a full fledged acoustic singer songwriter setting. On A Lovely Mess, he eases listeners into his new sound, keeping with the love song theme that he is known for. It starts the album off with a familiar sounding pop punk influenced track, backed by simple acoustic guitar, organ and his raw vocals which have a slightly noticeable lisp. There is a folk influence present as well, with hand claps and a Marcus Mumford slant to his voice, complete with an oddly English accent popping up on occasion.

He starts Heaven Sent off with a sweet voice and simple acoustic guitar, reminiscent of neo-folk artists like Bright Eyes. It is a pretty song which features a wonderful guest spot from Ace Enders (The Early November, I Can Make A Mess), whose soft nasally croon provides a nice counterpoint to the gruffer edge of Mcelfresh’s voice. 

I’ll Be Home for Christmas is a straight forward cover of the holiday classic. It is well executed and could easily be mistaken for a bonus track from Dustin Kensrue’s Christmas release, This Good Night is Still Everywhere. His voice is strong and has a contained warble much like Kensrue, but his depth isn’t yet as developed as the former Thrice frontman’s. The comparison between the two artists is most evident in the final track, Whole Again, a track that saunters along at a relaxed pace, wrapping the poetic lyrics around the strong vocals. It builds to a climax where his voice gets incrementally more gruff until he lets loose a couple final howls of you make me whole again before falling apart into a mess of musical chaos. It’s the perfect way to wrap up the release, encompassing the extremes of his sound, blending the soft and the loud together into one solid song. 

Front Porch Step has killed any notion of a sophomore slump with this strong follow up release. The well crafted songs are carried on the strength of his vocals and the simple melodies that accompany them. This EP is a worthwhile purchase for those who enjoy passionately sung heartfelt songs.