The Porter Project, The Porter Project

Amelia Raitt

By Amelia Raitt

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The true test of a song is whether it sounds good played on an acoustic guitar — but can an enduring pop classic withstand the beat-forward blandishments of modern dance music? Cole Porter, the legendary Broadway and film composer of the '30s and '40s, might seem an unlikely candidate for the electronic treatment, yet even his name, a combination of his mother's maiden name, Cole, and his father's surname, Porter, is itself a remix. As it turns out, this is one wartime traditionalist who knows his way back to the future; if serendipity alone isn't proof enough, you might be convinced after hearing the Porter Project's reinvention of Porter's starry-eyed standards. "Night and Day," one of Porter's best known and most-covered compositions, gets a slinky trip-hop treatment that evokes updated images of precisely the urbane, cosmopolitan-sipping sophisticates Porter was profiling. But yesterday's cosmo is today's drug cocktail ("I've Got You Under My Skin," indeed), and while some of these treatments sway woozily like drunken stagehands ("Blow, Gabriel, Blow"), others groove in — and, seemingly, on — ecstasy ("Easy to Love"). If jazzanova and chill-out clubs are the new Algonquin, this textured, serene album is the ultimate in contemporary luxury.