Portugal. The Man - The Satanic Satanist

by B. J. Eakin on Aug 2, 2009 at 9:15 PM
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Satanic SatanistMajestic Majesty

Wasilla/Portland's Portugal. the Man released their fourth full length album The Satanic Satanist on July 21st paired with an acoustic CD conversely entitled The Majestic Majesty.  With this recent installment, they have again experienced a musical make-over pushing them across genres and style.  In my opinion, it is their most solid work to date.

Portugal's music has been hit or miss in the past; and more recently Censored Colors (released September 2008) was kind of a let down to me although other critics seemed to laud it.  Each album had it's strong couple of tracks but the rest of the album was too rough.  Songs like AKA M80 The Wolf, Church Mouth, or My Mind had really been the entirety of my listening pleasure involving them.  But The Satanist has turned things around for me as ironic as it sounds, ha.

We enter the with People Say and immediately discover a much more polished band.  It reminds me a lot of some parts of Bright Eye's Cassadaga; but what was really dirty feeling Southern rock (Church Mouth, ahem...) has now become really catchy alternative-country-pop.  Even the lyrics are simplified and repeated several times during each song.  Which, this is not a bad thing, just not typical for them.  I have actually caught myself semi-sing-quoting lines from "Everyone is Golden," "Do You," and "The Sun" so they are doing something right.  Additionally, one of the pluses is that some of the songs run seamlessly which makes the whole album more enjoyable to listen to rather than a couple tracks.  

Some songs are weaker than the others, it is not a perfect record.  In my opinion, "Lovers in Love" and "The Woods" are over-shadowed by the rest of the CD.  But I guess that is a better flaw to have than some of the alternatives.  They also rely heavily on Gourley's vocal style and it does not fluctuate really through the record.  Once again, not necessarily a flaw, but can get boring when nothing changes. 

Overall, the album consists of some top notch songs... my favorites: "Mornings," "Work All Day," and "Everyone is Golden."  So to conclude, if you have heard them in the past, give them another chance.  They might surprise you.   Not to mention the co-release of Majestic Majesty really impressed me, although I prefer the studio production better.

ON a side note, I think that these boys just have figured out that obscurity can only take you so far.  This will most definitely expand their fan base, potentially even pushing them to closer to that of like the Kings of Leon.  Haha... Maybe that is a long shot, but even though Gourley is short I hear that he attracts the ladies like those Followill boys. John Gourley also had won the AltPress Vocalist of the Year Award in 2008, which seriously cannot hurt them. 

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The Satanic Satanist / The Majestic Majesty Track List:

  1. "People Say" - 2:59
  2. "Work All Day" - 2:59
  3. "Lovers in Love" - 3:14
  4. "The Sun" - 3:01
  5. "The Home" - 2:57
  6. "The Woods" - 3:12
  7. "Guns & Dogs" - 2:45
  8. "Do You" - 2:55
  9. "Everyone Is Golden" - 3:46
  10. "Let You Down" - 2:17
  11. "Mornings" - 4:39

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Portugal. The Man is:

  • John Baldwin Gourley - vocals, guitar, organ, machines
  • Jason Sechrist - drums and gang
  • Ryan Neighbors - piano, rhodes, organ, synth, vocals
  • Zachary Scott Carothers - bass, percussion, vocals
  • Zoe Manville - backup vocals, Moog synth

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People Say on You Tube

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