Thursday, May 23, 2013

Portugal. The Man: "Evil Friends" (album review)

It's still hard to wrap your brain around how such trippy indie pop can come out of Alaska.  Maybe it's the remoteness and desolation that have forced Portugal. The Man to explore music as a form of escape.  Whatever the cause, music fans everywhere should be happy for it, and happy for the June 4th release of the band's new full length, Evil Friends.

Over the course of their career so far, Portugal. The Man have proven that they can deliver danceable, dreamy, and fun experimental rock with a consistency that acts like MGMT only wish they could muster.

Whether it's the delightfully wonky swoon of "Creep In a T-Shirt" or the love-child vibe of "Sea of Air", there's always an underlying energy to the music that makes it incredibly difficult to resist.  Wrapping it all in a vibrant musical collage, gives slick tunes like "Modern Jesus" their compelling hooks.

Funkiness curbs the Gospel elements of "Holy Roller (Hallelujah)".  The soaring track updates the effusive spiritual release of Primal Scream's Screamadelica.

Though "Plastic Soliders" is the most ambitious cut on the record, the band hit their pinnacle with "Purple Yellow Red and Blue".  The track distills the quirk and melody out of Of Montreal and leaves behind as accessible indie pop song as you can have, while still managing to push the boundaries.

Not only will existing fans be gleeful when they hear Evil Friends, but the album also makes a perfect entry point for music lovers who aren't already familiar with this northern treasure.

Portgual. The Man play The Phoenix in Toronto on June 11th.

Best tracks: "Purple Yellow Red and Blue", "Modern Jesus"

Track listing for Evil Friends:
  • Plastic Soliders
  • Creep In a T-Shirt
  • Evil Friends
  • Modern Jesus
  • Hip Hop Kids
  • Atomic Man
  • Sea of Air
  • Waves
  • Holy Roller (Hallelujah)
  • Someday Believers
  • Purple Yellow Red and Blue
  • Smile

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