Portugal. The Man : Portugal. The Band

Only by hearing the name Portugal. The Man (punctuation on purpose) you can immediately tell that this is not a conventional band.

As a matter of fact the first impression reveals to be true: this Portland-based group has been making music which shakes up the classic rock conventions and brings something totally new in the music scene, for 8 years. Before signing with Atlantic Records, Portugal. The Man self-produced 6 of their albums and this year the collaboration with producer Danger Mouse, already known for his work with Cee-Lo and The Black Keys among many others, gave birth to their 8th musical masterpiece: Evil Friends, released in USA the 4th of June.

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Evil Friends is an explosion of different sounds due to the use of various instruments and beats all together whose variety is so slight because of how perfectly they mix together, by dissolving themselves into the same tune. The meticulous and refined work required for each song is probably the reason why the band has taken one extra year to release the album. Evil Friends shows a mystic dynamic: in each song the rhythm may start in a way and end in another which is really risky because it could create confusion and disharmony. On the contrary, the oddity of their songs’ composition results in absolute joy for your ears.

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Every single track of Evil Friends is a mystic surprise, it feels like a succession of waves running through each other; piano, drums, guitars, electric beats all together in this ocean of sounds which clearly shows the growth of this alternative rock band. Its electric and classic rock rhythms, which intersect each other, makes this album an ideal summer soundtrack; it’s perfect to dance on a beach or to listen to in a car on a road-trip with your friends, because it’s vigorous, energetic and so much fun. Each track is unique and totally different from one another but at the same time their sense is complete only in the entirety of the whole album; one song is connected to the other and it tells a beautiful story. After listening to one you could not possibly stop yourself from going through the entire album.

The Alaskan band, known for hits like People say (Satanic Satanist) or So American (In the Mountain in The cloud) which already showed a search for the novelty and unusual music flows, with its latest album deserves to walk into the Temple of Rock with its head up. Tracks like Atomic Man, Creep in a T-shirt, Evil Friends and Purple Yellow Red and Blue point out a darker and more realistic connotation of the world, distant from Gourley’s enchanted vision found in old songs like The Sun (Satanic Satanist), although this vibe is not lost forever but it is echoed, in the new album, by Waves or Smile which, through the sound of violins and trumpets, softly concludes the album like an hymn at the end of a war, saying goodbye to the Plastic Soldiers.

It’s not only the frontman John Gourley’s angelic voice which generates the harmony but it is the ensemble: every single component of the band from Zachary Carothers (co-founder of the band and bass guitar), to the creative work of Kyle O’Quin at the keyboard and synthesizers, not to mention the fundamental contribution of Noah Gersh (guitar and miscellaneous percussion) and Kane Richotte (drums).

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The harmony among the members of the group is what makes Portugal. The Man: The Band per antonomasia.

Text by: Chiara Pizzi