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The Nature of Sap

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Album Review

Following in the tradition of his peers, Mac McCaughan devoted his 1997 Portastatic album to mild progressive-rock, experimenting with keyboards, pianos and even clarinets. McCaughan doesn't veer away from punk-pop song structure, but he expands it with his increased instrumental palette, creating an album that is intriguing but difficult to meet halfway.

Customer Reviews

My Favorite Portastatic album

It's shocking that it's so overlooked, but The Nature of Sap seemed to mark a real turning point in the development of that unique Portastatic sound and the band's overall development.

Wonderful album

Really excellent. Always think of it on rainy days. So evocative of overcast weather by the sea.


Formed: 1992 in United States

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Mac McCaughan became an indie rock hero while fronting Superchunk and by founding and managing the successful Merge Records -- Portastatic was the outlet for his solo recordings and songs that didn't quite fit his day job band. The side project began in 1992 when Tom Scharpling of 18 Wheeler Records asked McCaughan to release some of his lo-fi four-track recordings; he obliged with the singles "Sandals with White Socks" and "Starter." Then in 1994 McCaughan released an entire Portastatic album, I...
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The Nature of Sap, Portastatic
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