Portugal. The Man

Censored Colors

Written by: PP on 02/01/2009 19:26:18

Another year, another Portugal. The Man sound, it seems. The band that started off as one of the most exciting experimental indie rock bands with "Waiter: 'You Vultures!'", went through a samples/electronica stage on "Church Mouth", and produced one of the best EPs the same year in the form of the magnificent "It's Complicated Being A Wizard EP", has now drifted into an even more unrecognizable, completely different direction with "Censored Colors".

This time around, Portugal. The Man brings us two new sounds into the mix, with the first half of the album consisting largely of Beatles styled simple pop melodies disguised underneath a crooning voice and experimental instrumentation - think Led Zeppelin-inspired solos smoothly sown onto a Beatles track with some strings on the background and you're close. The problem is, and I do dare say this because I stand by my claim, Beatles fucking sucked and are overrated as hell just because they were the first 'rock band' and invented a lot of the stuff used today. I'm not saying there aren't good songs on the first half, because the utterly fantastic "Colors" is just that, but for the most part, I'm yawning and waiting for the songs to end.

The second half of the record then suddenly moves into the realm of telepathic improvisation in the vein of The Mars Volta - there's even some saxophone thrown in for good measure. Vocalist Gourley sounds identical to Cedric Bixler in places, which I guess isn't a bad thing, but it's just not something you'd want out of Portugal. The Man. "Never Pleased" is a good example of this, sounding exactly how I'd imagine a Wolfmother / The Mars Volta collaboration to sound like, and while this is interesting in itself, the fact that the song is actually a continuation of what "New Orleans" started - a song divided into the remaining eight songs on the record just like on "It's Complicated Being A Wizard" is just not my cup of tea, at least.

So if you ask me, and you are since you're reading this review, "Censored Colors" lacks the wonderful experimentalism of the EP and their debut album, or perhaps the problem is in that they experiment too much? Either way, "Censored Colors" is a pretentious, somewhat boring, and ultimately, an entirely forgettable affair that fails to live up to my expectations of this band.


Download: Colors, Never Pleased
For the fans of: The Mars Volta, Beatles, Wolfmother
Listen: Myspace

Release date 16.09.2008
Approaching AIRballoons / Equal Vision Records

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