The highly anticipated Portugal. The Man release “Evil Friends” comes out June 4th, and I was given a chance to listen to it today. For fans of the expiremental Portland band already, you are going to love it, it’s a new sound that doesn’t stray too far from the old, and I see them gaining a lot of new fans with this album due to the more easily accessible radio-friendly nature of the songs. There isn’t a skippable track here, each has their own catchy melody and lyrics that tell so many bittersweet stories, and they could each standalone as a strong single courtesy of the amazing production by Danger Mouse. They had recorded most of the tracks at Sonic Ranch Studios in El Paso, but scrapped all but two and began working with Danger Mouse on an almost clean slate.
The album starts off great with the synth heavy “Plastic Soldiers”, and I love the lyrics of “Creep in a T-Shirt” about being a loser, they go nicely with the driving beat and twinkling keys. “Evil Friends”, the title track, has a taste of garage punk, while “Sea of Air” is a delicate acoustic ditty that soars as more layers of instruments are brought in. By the time they got to the hand-claps, I was smitten. “Holy Roller (Hallelujah)” is a stand out track with strong lyrics and background choruses singing “ooohs” and “aaahs”, and they even dabble in hip hop with the track “Hip-Hop Kids”, and it works! They’ve got a major tour kicking off May 20th at Irving Plaza, and will be hitting up Denver opening for the Avett Brothers at Red Rocks. If you haven’t seen them live, they are even better and louder in person, songs get stretched out and rocked out, and the new material is so awesome, I can’t wait to hear it live! Don’t miss that Red Rocks show!
Link to Video of Evil Friends
Link to tour dates
Link to pre-order Limited Edition Super Pack