The Nature of Sap

The Nature of Sap is Portastatic's third studio album.[5] It was released on Merge Records on March 11, 1997.

The Nature of Sap
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 11, 1997
GenreIndie rock
ProducerMac McCaughan
Portastatic chronology
Slow Note from a Sinking Ship
The Nature of Sap
Summer of the Shark
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[2]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[3]
MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide3/5 stars[4]


The album was recorded at Duck Kee Studios in Mebane, North Carolina, during the summer of 1996, except tracks 4, 7-9, and 11, which were recorded on 4-track cassette on "Old NC 86."[citation needed] Matt McCaughan plays drums on many of the album's tracks.[6]

Critical receptionEdit

The Tucson Weekly wrote that "Portastatic seems to be what happens when an aging punk rocker and his ambitious musical vision 'mature': passivity, depression and terminal boredom."[7] Phoenix New Times called the album "a multilayered opus of pop precocity."[8] Paste deemed it the band's most underrated album, calling it "a downcast jazzy pop record that dabbles with electronic minimalism and features some of [Mac] McCaughan’s best song writing."[9] SF Weekly wrote that The Nature of Sap "finds the normally manic Superchunk frontman in an extended soporific spelunk through the caves of his waking dreams."[10]

Track listingEdit

  1. "You Know Where to Find Me"
  2. "A Lovely Nile"
  3. "Hurricane Warning (Ignored)"
  4. "Reverse Lester"
  5. "Flare"
  6. "Jonathan's Organ"
  7. "Before You Sailed Around the World"
  8. "Ben's Revenge"
  9. "Impolite Cheers"
  10. "Spying on the Spys"
  11. "BJJT"
  12. "Landed"
  13. "If You Could Sing"
  14. "The Nature of Sap"
  15. "[Silent Hidden Track]"
  16. "[Untitled Hidden Track]"


  1. ^ "Merge Records - Artists, News, Music - Shop Vinyl, Merch, Music and More".
  2. ^ AllMusic review
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Volume 7: MUZE. p. 601.CS1 maint: location (link)
  4. ^ MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Visible Ink Press. 1999. p. 1110.
  5. ^ "Portastatic | Biography & History". AllMusic.
  6. ^ Parker, Chris (September 10, 2008). "Mac McCaughan: Through with Portastatic?". INDY Week.
  7. ^ "Tucson Weekly: Rhythm & Views (October 2 - October 8, 1997)".
  8. ^ Kelley, Brendan Joel (February 6, 1997). "The Nature of Static". Phoenix New Times.
  9. ^ "Merge 25: The 25 Best Records on Merge, Year by Year". July 23, 2014.
  10. ^ "Words + Guitar (+ Beats + Skronk)". SF Weekly. December 31, 1997.