Though I’d heard about Portugal. The Man for years, I did not properly acquaint myself with them until recently by way of attending their show at Cafe Montmartre in June. After being blown away by their live show, I eagerly awaited the band’s fourth full-length, The Satanic Satanist.
Inspired by life in Alaska from 1987 to 1993, vocalist John Baldwin Gourley and company craft an album of mostly sunny 70s-inspired melodies melded with lyrics that capture the love and loss of a sun-bridled existence.
Shaping many tracks on the album is a nod to the funk and soul that dominated pop’s sound 30 years ago. Portugal. The Man both pays tribute (“Lovers in Love” could have been stolen straight from a movie score) and makes it their own by applying a blissed-out sheen (“The Woods”). The saunter of “Work All Day” and posi-shimmer of “People Say” falls on the rockier end of the spectrum, but the album reaches its apogee at its close. Gourley bears his soul over a lonely piano (“Let You Down”), giving way to the beautiful sense of longing played out in strings and blues guitar on “Mornings”. Though Gourley may no longer wake up to the Alaskan sunrise, he’s managed to trap a few rays for safekeeping.
The Satanic Satanist drops 07/21/09.
Get downloads and more at Portugal. The Man’s site.