Portrait People, an emo act affiliated with the Pittsburgh-area Earthwalk Collective (which also includes String Machine and Lem), follows 2017’s Hollow EP with a full-length called Hallow.
The album is chock full of the type of ambling guitar arpeggios and winding rhythms that you might hear in a midwest emo ballad, but Portrait People separate themselves from the greater pack of vulnerable indie people standing in cornfields through their willingness to lean into three-chord power pop and through frontman Nic Temple’s delivery, which, at its most intense, is more Scott Weiland/that dude from Godsmack than it is Mike Kinsella. The title track begins with stomping, martial kick drums before a contemplative guitar figure emerges and slowly builds, matching the lulls and lifts of Temple’s vocal delivery. His belted “heeeeeeyrrs” meld seamlessly with the warm harmonies of guest vocalist Laurel Wain, and then everything explodes into a thunderous crescendo before receding again for a hushed, flickering coda. The catharsis is real with this one.
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