Since when did the number of albums determine how many friends a band can have? Take Portugal. The Man for instance, now 8 albums in with an existing cult fan base, the five-piece’s friend list is set to get a little more crowded given the recent release of their latest album Evil Friends; which, by the way, is what your own friends are if they haven’t told you to check out this group from Portland, Oregon. With the handy assistance of Danger Mouse himself, this album is definitely one to not only sing along to, but it is one that you’ll probably want on your Spotify playlist, iPod or whatever you use for a very long time, here’s why!
The entire album is full of bright, airy and memorable licks and melodies that you’ll definitely remember on any re-listen, but remembering the name of the song doesn’t come easy! Evil Friends opens with ‘Plastic Soldiers’, a moderately paced synth and acoustic banger that slowly progresses to a piano and vocal sing along, something I imagine would be popular on the live front!
Although great, ‘Plastic Soldiers’ makes way for the extremely catchy ‘Creep in a T-Shirt’ which is sure to be stuck in your head for days, I’ll let you listen to this one on your own without description. Title track ‘Evil Friends’ and ‘Modern Jesus’ provide much room to lose yourself again in that signature Portugal. The Man sound with: a) driving guitar, b) more Na Na’s than in banana, c) catchy hooks and d) DAT OPENING of ‘Modern Jesus’.
Already so atmospheric, Evil Friends manages to somehow fit more of those riffs and hooks into the next two, ‘Hip Hop Kids’ and ‘Atomic Man’. As far as these go, I was feeling the same vibes I got as if I was listening to Tame Impala’s Innerspeaker and Foster The People’s Torches AT THE SAME TIME, FOR THE FIRST TIME. Listen to either of these tracks with your playlist on shuffle and you’re likely to have the phrases “we don’t, we don’t, we don’t” or “After you, I don’t know what I believe in, After you, hell will be easier” repeating over and over in your head.
‘Waves’ provides another opportunity to zone-out and just enjoy the album but all is brought back again in the melancholy ‘Holy Roller [Hallelujah]’. The coarse screams of the chorus in this track and combination of progressive organ, guitar and piano prove extremely effective in what was sing along number 5 if this album. ‘Someday believers’ is another piano driven piece and introduces some strings to the work; it’s what comes next that makes Evil Friends special.
If you haven’t heard ‘Purple Yellow Red and Blue’ yet, this track, oddly placed at the rear of the album, get on YouTube now and thank me later. As with most of the other tracks, this is pretty catchy and atmospheric, but probably the stand-out track for Evil Friends. Everything from the vocals to that memorable synth melody and driving bass part works for this track. It gets you back for the final track ‘Smile’, which acts as a nice and slow end to the album, but if the album was on repeat, you wouldn’t know it had ended!
I can’t exactly describe in one post exactly how this album sounds in your ears, and this probably doesn’t give Portugal. The Man or Evil Friends the credit it deserves. One thing IS for sure though and that is if you’re looking for something in that empty spot Mark Foster and Torches left for you while you wait for THAT follow up, this is it! So get recruiting internet, don’t be evil, tell your friends about Portugal. The Man; 8 albums in and just getting started!