Portugal. The Man
Censored Colors


2.5
average

Review

by John weathered old reviewer Hanson STAFF
October 1st, 2008 | 76 replies | 16,687 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Censored Colors" is a warm take on the winter of Alaska, but as delectable as that may sound, they take it twelve steps too far in the direction of tedium.

My natural inclination as a writer of the long-winded variety is to go on and on about a particular subject, identifying unique instances where the topic of my writing is either specifically good, tremendously bad, or generally mediocre. Portugal. the Man’s new album Censored Colors should demand such treatment, being a long winded, incredibly verbose work of art itself. It is filled to the brim with the eccentricities of the bands previous records, except now in an acoustic, string and organ packed parcel. It sounds like a direct result of their upbringing in Alaska (don’t buy into the “southern rock” motif) in that it is wildly and strangely beautiful…but just as with the real Alaska, those feelings only last so long and only in so many places, and thus the album ends up being boring and derivative far more than it is wonderful and free.

Whereas Portugal. the Man were a fairly unique band before, despite some light connections to other acts they frequently toured with, on Censored Colors that takes a backseat, as they instead opt to relish in their influences, ranging from hard rock acts from the 70’s like Led Zeppelin and Kansas, to earlier Motown artists to current, more “scene” acts like Circa Survive and Finch. In the midst of the acoustic flourishes that are spilt throughout the album are effects-drenched guitar solos, straight out of a song from Led Zeppelin 2. Despite the best efforts from singer John Gourley with his ridiculously high pitched shrieking and crooning, the music still manages to be an extremely smooth listen, resulting in a cohesive effort far exceeding anything they have previously recorded.

However, at 53 minutes, Censored Colors is lacking in ideas. They repeat the same soulful chants and bluesy solos repeatedly, the same minimalist drumming and acoustic melodies. While they do mix up the tempo of the album enough, songs like “All Mine” just get lost in the shuffle of the album, which is a damn shame because on its own, a song like “All Mine” is very good. In fact, if you were to take Censored Colors and separate it into 3, perhaps 4 parts, and release them separately you would have a collection of very good, if very samey, EP’s. The drudging through the entirety of the collection is what is hard though, and I have yet to be able to sit down and listen to the whole record without switching to something else for a substantial period of time.

In the context of the realm of punk/indie music, Censored Colors is a remarkable album both in concept and execution. Then again, when you think of the heaps of music that was made in the decades before Portugal. the Man, it all seems rather under whelming and quite derivative of better, more important bands. Bringing this full circle, Censored Colors is a paradox in that it is a big, extravagant album that is only deserving of sparse details and exposition. The entire album feels like a homogenous mix of soulful rock, blues, and acoustic pop. Perhaps if they had added in more of their trademark sound, it could have been an interesting combination of those earlier sounds with a more contemporary, fresh experimental twist. All in all, Censored Colors will please previous fans and may even broaden their fanbase further, but its hard to get over the fact that it is so contrived and unrelentingly homage-y and old-fashioned.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2008



16072 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Note- I really do enjoy many of the songs here out of context, but that doesn't really matter in the context of the review because they all add up to the same old crap.

Edit- I do also plan on adding to this review in the future as some of my thoughts expand, but this is late enough as is and I feel people at least would like a place to discuss this album here.This Message Edited On 10.01.08

AtavanHalen
October 1st 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A nice review, but I don't agree with your rating. This is pretty much the most epic indie rock album since Illinois.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2008



16072 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I don't even consider it indie rock though. It takes far too much from other artists, and goes on for too long and tediously at that.
Some of the tracks are so fucking good though that it pains me to not really like the record.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2008



17117 Comments


I know what you mean. I've had this for about a month and I don't think I've ever gotten all the way through it.

Digging: Sad Lovers and Giants - Feeding the Flame

AtavanHalen
October 2nd 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I guess it's a bit of a struggle to get through start to finish, and I appreciate where you're coming from.
It was definitely worth it for me, though.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2008



16072 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

It made me appreciate Waiter, You Vultures! a lot more though.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
October 2nd 2008



4925 Comments


A nice review, but I don't agree with your rating. This is pretty much the most epic indie rock album since Illinois.

woahhhh bold statement there buddy

AtavanHalen
October 2nd 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Bold indeed but I stick to it.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
October 2nd 2008



4925 Comments


It's pretty cool so far

AtavanHalen
October 2nd 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lay Me Back Down may be one of my songs of the year, if not the.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2008



16072 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I think thats the weakest song on the album. It's overtly poppy in a bad way to me.
1989, New Orleans, Hard Times, and Our Way are all very solid songs.

AtavanHalen
October 2nd 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It reminds me of Cold War Kids covering The Mars Volta, or TMV covering CWK. Either way, it's massive in a kind of subtle way, which I really like.
Those songs you listed are quite good too.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2008



17914 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

whoa no tmv references wtf

TheDistantFuture
October 2nd 2008



200 Comments


I liked these guys much more when they we're trying to be The Mars Volta.

HighandDriving
October 2nd 2008



3232 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

What happened to these guys?

I'm not going to even bother with them anymore, two stinkers in a row is too much for me.

brandtweathers
October 2nd 2008



2009 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

they take it twelve steps too far in the direction of tedium.

haven't even read the review yet and you already hit the nail on the head.
nice, john
ps salt and created both ruleThis Message Edited On 10.02.08

poweroftheweez
October 2nd 2008



1289 Comments


Would this be a good place to start? I've never listened to them, but I'm interested.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2008



16072 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Nah dude. I used to think they were bad all around, but their album Waiter, You Vultures! is actually pretty good and a decent record to start with.

poweroftheweez
October 2nd 2008



1289 Comments


Sounds good. Great review btw.

willfellmarsy
October 2nd 2008



3844 Comments


[quote=Staff Reviewer John A. Hansome]They repeat the same soulful chants and bluesy solos repeatedly[/quote]
otherwise cool review, i was recd these guys on last.fm but i dnt think they will tickle my fancy



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