Mauro Remiddi appeared from a hazy cloud of synthwave and dream pop back in 2012 under the name Porcelain Raft with the lushporcelain-raft-microclimate Strange Weekend. It was this wonderful mix of Cocteau Twins big sweeps and early Depeche Mode. It was a breath of fresh air amid the vacuous space known as chillwave that was threatening to consume the hipster/stoner population at large. He followed that up quickly in 2013 with Permanent Signal. While Signal had some decent moments, it was mainly a step nowhere with more focus on empty 80s radio-ready electronic music. Remiddi took his time to release his latest Porcelain Raft album. That time resulted in Microclimate, a denser affair that seems to concentrate on atmospheric vibes that have more in common with Tears For Fears than Pet Shop Boys.

Microclimate comes off more organic than anything Remiddi has released before. More guitar, piano, bass, and even his vocals feel more in the front. There’s a concentration more on singer/songwriter fare. Tracks like “Distant Shore”, “Big Sur”, and “Rolling Over” have an air of contemplation. There’s a world-weariness in the moods on these songs. Remiddi’s upper register vocals are more introspective and less effected than on previous albums. “The Greatest View” feels like an ode to tragedy. It’s epic in scope; beautifully built on a melancholy melody and big-thinking lyrics. “Accelerating Curve” has more of a modern electronic feel to it. These tracks make me think that Remiddi wants to be more like a Peter Gabriel or Sting than a Dave Gahan or Robert Smith. This album sounds more grown up.

Microclimate has Mauro Remiddi in contemplative mode. At times it might get a little too schmaltzy, but sometimes when emotion takes you over it’s hard to hold back. This is a record with lots of big heart and big scopes. If you don’t mind a little pulling of the heartstrings, Microclimate is a trip worth taking.

6.8 out of 10

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