Portugal. The Man

Evil Friends

Written by: BV on 29/06/2013 20:29:58

Portugal. The Man’s albums rarely contain many moments that are the same in genre, feeling or general way of songwriting. Their newest album, “Evil Friends”, is no exception. Spanning influences like electronica, punk, shoegaze, pop-rock and psychedelic rock, “Evil Friends” never reaches a dedicated standing point from where it can be reviewed, rather than multiple schizophrenic angles from which it can be perceived – which works for and against the release, really.

Opening track “Plastic Soldiers” is really no exception either as it contains elements that are vastly reminiscent of MGMT’s “Metanoia” as well as distinctly upbeat melodies that bring my mind in the general direction of Sulk and The Stone Roses. This schizophrenic mix of ideas makes for an interesting, albeit confusing, soundscape that will either end up pissing you off or maintaining your interest. For me personally, the choice sadly falls on the first of the two throughout most of the album, as their schizophrenic trips often go to overtly pop-like places where I can’t really see myself following them – like on “Creep in a T-shirt” which literally demands radio-airplay with its bombastic and intrusive song structure that really doesn’t work in my current environment; the one wherein there are no semi-drunken people around and I don’t feel a ridiculous, and might I add alcohol-induced, need to show off my latest non-existent skills at dancing.

The schizophrenia does seem to work quite a lot better on the upbeat, yet melancholic track “Atomic Man” which has a deliciously fuzzy melody line to it and some heavily studio-treated vocals as well – in a good way that is, wherein the vocal is slightly distorted and everything sounds kind of crumbly. Still, Portugal. The Man maintains the rather poppy façade whilst never really reaching the mind-blowing depths of which I do believe they’re struggling to find – after all, the build of the soundscape does seem to be screaming in that general direction.

So what is my general take on Portugal. The Man’s “Evil Friends”? Well, I’m feeling quite as schizophrenic as the soundscape itself as there are quite a few interesting moments on the album. However there are at least as many detours along the way that seem to reek of a; “We did it because we could” state of mind, wherein the listeners general reception really doesn’t matter as the involved members seemingly had a blast recording it. I feel that this release is well above mediocre but below the really good level and I’m really not sure if I can qualify myself as a fan as of yet. I don’t think so, though.

Download: Sea of Air, Atomic Man, Plastic Soldiers
For The Fans Of: The Sound of Animals Fighting, Yeasayer, Maps & Atlases
Listen: facebook.com

Release Date 04.06.2013

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