Monday, July 20, 2009

Portugal. The Man - "The Satanic Satanist"

Not even a year after releasing their last album, Portugal. The Man are ready to release yet another album. “The Satanic Satanist”, the bands’ fourth album in as many years shows their love and passion for music of all styles and their endless well of talent and creativity. In a way, they have come full circle as they have finally made the funky Soul record they have been on a path to create since Church Mouth but also add in the odd loops, beats and samples they abandoned since their first album, Waiter, You Vulture.

The album opens with the folk-inflected anti-war anthem, “People Say” which includes an uplifting sing-along chorus and twangy country-tinged guitar. The hammer to the nail, rhythm-driven “Work All Day” has a chain gang sing-along that reflects the bands’ work ethic. The vibe on “Lovers In Love” recalls the classic 70’s soul records with the smoothed out programming, fast and furious congas and soaring falsetto vocal melody on the bands’ first “love” song. Like the rest of the album, the piano-led “The Sun” features a more focused, less complex arrangement as well as a massive brit-pop like chorus and thick vintage organs. “The Home” uses multi-tracked vocals throughout as vocalist John Gourley sings (“I will make my home here”) about his parent’s courage to escape to Alaska and settle in a new and exciting land, which also reflects his bands’ courage to not adhere to any genre or set of musical rules (“I don’t run with the sheep…”). “Guns and Dogs” settles into a sunny groove with soothing “woo, woo, woo” background vocal with a battle between organic versus electronic instruments. “Everyone Is Golden” is a gorgeous, straight-forward pop song with a lilting Lennon-esque melody and over the top production from producer Paul Q. Kolderie, who helped the band focus their energy into more precise song structures. The album closes with the sweeping, cinematic “Mornings” with its smoldering guitar solo and Gourley’s rafters-reaching falsetto.

After spending less than two weeks in the studio just months after their last album was released, The Satanic Satanist is Portugal. The Man’s most focused and accessible album yet, showcasing once again their immense talent, creativity and willingness to blur the lines of classification and create on their own terms.

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