July 24, 2013

Album Review: Evil Friends by Portugal. The Man

By Tyler Sivero

Evil Friends
Portugal. The Man
Atlantic Records
Release Date: June 4th, 2013

Portugal. The Man seems like one of those bands that most music fans have at least heard of. Their music has consistently been quintessential indie-rock. It also gives off an alternative and beach-y feel that I think goes hand-in-hand with a lot of students at USD. The band originated in Alaska, with two of the current members playing together in high school. This in itself is pretty hipster and fitting for the indie-rock sound that many of their fans have gravitated towards. The band just released their sixth studio album “Evil Friends” last month.
To start, the album was produced by Brian Burton, or by his stage name Danger Mouse. Burton has produced albums for artists such as Gorillaz, Beck and The Black Keys. He formed Gnarls Barkely and has even collaborated with bands such as The Shins and Broken Bells. In short, the guy knows his stuff and is very well respected in the industry. I think the album shows it. Many of the songs off the album are catchy and are directed towards an indie-rock/pop sound. The new album is definitely a little more pop sounding than previous releases but remains alternative at its core nonetheless. I noticed the songs are easy to bob your head along to and play in the background. As I listened more, I couldn’t help but think this would be great driving music or perfect for having friends over for a kickback. I have this image in my head where I’m relaxing on a rooftop in Mission Beach while this album plays in the background. Tracks like “Modern Jesus” and “Creep In A T-Shirt” stick out especially for this scenario.
On another note, the band is definitely growing up. A few of the tracks are labeled as “explicit” on Itunes, which I think only backs my point more. They are established and therefore can do or say what they want while keeping their fan base. Lyrics such as “Think we give a sh*t, well we don’t, we don’t, we don’t” (Hip Hop Kids) and “I’m just a creep in a t-shirt, jeans, I don’t f*cking care” (Creep In a T-Shirt) portray this. This isn’t to say they’re changing a ton. Hardly so. They’re simply growing and further refining their indie-rock identity.
Portugal. The Man is on their summer tour right now and will be playing in San Diego next week. The show is on July 10th and the House of Blues. Tickets are still on sale. I recommend everyone go out and catch the show, especially for a band that is so fitting to our campus and San Diego itself.

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