I LIKED PORTUGAL. THE MAN BEFORE THEY SOLD OUT
- Portugal. The Man t-shirt ($25)
Portugal. The Man (the full-stop is part of the name) is an indie psych/pop/rock band from Wasilla, Alaska. Their debut album Waiter: "You Vultures!" was released in 2006 and they have produced seven other albums and numerous singles since, the latest being Woodstock, released in June 2017. With Woodstock, the group have achieved that critical level of mainstream success at which their music plays in iPad commercials, so it's no longer cool to be a true fan.
Certainly Woodstock and Evil Friends (2013) - their two most recent albums - have a 'poppier' feel to them. The off-kilter power-chords and trippy grooves of Vultures have given way to a tighter, smoother sound, though the frontman John Gourley's characteristic androgynous tones remain a common thread.
It's not a development to dislike at all - in fact it feels like a natural evolution of their sound, and you can see the groundwork for it laid in a number of tracks in The Satanic Satanist (2009), American Ghetto (2010), and In the Mountain Cloud (2011). The rough facets have been sanded with fine emery, the ragged edges deburred with purpose, and it is still uniquely their sound coming through. That said, while earlier albums seemed to have cohesive themes and imagery Woodstock feels more like a series of vignettes - catchy singles that can stand on their own in a party soundtrack.
They'll still get stuck in your head, though.
John Gourley - vocals, guitar
Zach Carothers - bass, vocals
Kyle O'Quin - keyboard, synth
Jason Sechrist - drums
Eric Howk - guitar
... and others.
Recommended tracks: So Young, Noise Pollution, Waves, Easy Tiger, Evil Friends, Atomic Man, Feel It Still, Hip Hop Kids, Smile, Sea of Air, Guns and Dogs