POTRUGAL. THE MAN-“The Satanic Satanist”

Portugal. The Man begin their latest LP, “The Satanic Satanist,” with an anti war anthem, “People Say,” whose chorus rings, “We won the war/May have lost a million men/But we’ve got a million more/All the people say.”  This could have been a 1960s chant by Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, or any band with “Free” or “Spirit” in the name.  This opener moves seamlessly into the Lennon-like “Work All Day,” which, in turn, goes with barely a pause into nearly-funky “Lovers in Love.”  This is an album that never sits still, wears its influences on its sleeves, and reads like a love letter to the many phases of 1960s/70s rock and roll.

In fact, seen through the prism of the band’s most likely ancestor, the album takes on an even clearer picture.  Beginning with a simple and straightforward peace anthem, and ending with an edgier, experimental extended track (clocking at nearly 5 minutes, “Mornings,” is one of the longer album cuts), the album seems to go through Lennon’s post-Beatles catalog and growth.  Of course, it could also be a mirror of Stevie Wonder’s career progression, from basic rock through funk to the beginnings of more beat-driven pop . . . In many ways, the album is a love letter to early rock pioneers who grew up in the ’60s, came up in the ’70s, and eventually helped rock cross-over into the bland ’80s.  (Fortunately, they stop before paying tribute that already-overly-tributed era.)

Overall, this is a very interesting album by a group that has shown marked change and even improvement over their last record.  This is not to denigrate the band’s catalog–it’s quite good–but lead vocalist John Baldwin Gourley has overcome some issues he had with vocals in the past, and the band as a whole has created a much tighter sound here.  The record also benefits from the contribution of producers Adam Taylor (The Lemonheads, The Dresdon Dolls) and Anthony Saffery (Cornershop).  A fine, fine effort.

Lovers in Love (YSI)

The Sun

Related Posts

About The Author