If you want a seriously great album to listen to right now, check out Portugal. The Man’s latest record Evil Friends which was released June 4. I have been listening to these dudes since The Majestic Majesty in 2009 and I’ve seen them play at Osheaga last year, and this is my favourite record of theirs so far. It was produced by Danger Mouse and it is such a wholesome record. I am a huge fan of continuity and the idea of a concept album and Evil Friends delivers.
They still have their velvety vocals with all the echo and reverberation you might come to expect but with a new cohesion of one track to the next really creates the whole package that I appreciate, and especially eight albums into their catalog. If you haven’t listened to Portugal. The Man before they have a sort of psychedelic pop sound.
I’ve said it before but I really love a track that bleeds through into the next, because I feel like that gives the record a sense of thought; like the lifespan of their music was taken into account, and the it was thought of as a whole instead of just one single after the other. The beauty of this record is that each track can be individual but it works best all together.
At the end of the record they put this slow climb song Smile where they tie in the first track of the album Plastic Soldiers. “Plastic soldiers slowly growing older.” In Smile they portray a global awareness, talking about issues and that’s reflected in their lyrics. I love the direction they took the album and the ties that helped sew it all together.
“I don’t need to talk about the world alright; I just wanna sleep with a Smile tonight. I don’t wanna talk about the hungry people, people down and out, sleep when the sun goes down.”
In Creep in a T-Shirt they tie in the lyrics from the song after it. “It’s not because the light here, is brighter and it’s not that I’m evil I just don’t like to pretend.” We don’t even know that that’s going to happen until we hear the next track but it just adds this unity.
It feels like a collective piece of art instead of just another record on the shelf, which is why I highly recommend Evil Friends.
As an added side, I have decided to include an album to avoid! I recently chose to return to a few albums that I thought I did not give enough chance. The Strokes‘ Comedown Machine, Phoenix’s Bankrupt! and Born Ruffians‘ Birthmarks. I listened to all three albums a few times and I have decided that The Strokes’ and Phoenix’s are actually pretty sick once you get used to them. BUT Born Ruffians’ sucks out loud. It is still terrible. If there is one album I think you should avoid, it’s Birthmarks. It is way overproduced in the worst way possible. All the rawness of Born Ruffians is replaced with crap hooks and an empty pallet. I really really don’t like it, and that is partially due to the fact that I loved their last two records. Especially Red, Yellow and Blue. They will always have a place in my heart… but Birthmarks can cease to exist.
All of Portugal. The Man’s new record is streaming on Soundcloud so I featured it below. You’re welcome.