Written By: Victor Alfieri
In a music world where genres are shifting, blurring and flat out disappearing, a band like Portugal. The Man can play to its strengths and manipulate the listener as it plays from one style to another. The Satanic Satanist is the fourth offering from the band and possibly it’s most commercial release.
Known as a “live band,” Portugal. The Man’s previous forays into recording produced songs with limited structure. The exploratory psychedelic, free form music shifted continuously to the delight of fans and critics alike. The newfound structure may create some angst with old school fans, but most will likely reserve judgment until they sample the live product.
Other new listeners of this band will find it enjoyable. At first listen, one will hear influences from Oasis circa. mid-90’s and the more recent My Morning Jacket. There’s even a reference or two to New Order era electronic.
Portugal. The Man consists of John Baldwin Gourley (Vocals, Guitar), Zachary Scott Carothers (Bass, Percussion, Vocals) & Ryan Neighbors (Organ, Piano, Vocals). Originally out of Wasilla, Alaska (yes, THAT Wasilla), the band now lives in Portland, OR. They had a lot to live up to with this album, considering their 2008 release, Censored Colors, was picked as one of Alternative Press’ “10 Essential Albums of 2008.” They also chose Gourley as the year’s Best Vocalist.
Gourley, the main songwriter for the band tackled some tough personal terrain in exploring his childhood in Alaska. This album is sandwiched between lines of one single thought that he passes on to the listener:
“Save me, I can’t be saved…I don’t believe.”
He speaks his piece on war with “People Say.” When you hear lyrics like “What a lovely day yeah, we won the war, may have lost a million men but we got a million more,” it leaves little doubt on how he feels. “Lovers in Love” is the bands first love song, but it’s not a ballad.
Portugal. The Man releases The Satanic Satanist July 21st off of Equal Vision Records. This album is most definitely worth a listen and a purchase. Checking this band out live is even more worthy of your time. If they come to a town near you, take some time, hydrate yourself and wear comfortable shoes. You won’t be disappointed.