Portugal. The Man
The Satanic Satanist


4.0
excellent

Review

by Channing Freeman STAFF
July 20th, 2009 | 118 replies | 36,111 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Portugal. The Man have made their best album since their debut.

There has been, in the scene, some debate as to just where the hell Portugal. The Man fit in. John Gourley's workaholic band's first album, the superb Waiter: You Vultures! was this anomaly - an antithetical, almost minimalistic piece of work that went against many of the current scene trends, while still being a weird, distant part of it. It was a quiet, almost wimpy album, with Gourley's light vocals on top of everything, and in a scene where everyone was trying to scream louder and play faster, Portugal. The Man's creative rock came out of left field. Next came Church Mouth, which couldn't have been more unexpected. A loud, fuzzy RAWK album, it, in the words of Nick Greer, "tried to bring the rock'n'roll to indie and failed." That was partly true - Church Mouth didn't live up to Waiter's standards - but it was still a reasonably good album. And then there was 2008's Censored Colors, Gourley's self-proclaimed tribute to The Beatles. Censored Colors was great, if a little too much at times, with jangly piano and choirs in addition to the band's creativity with more traditional rock instruments.

The point of all that was to stress the fact that however good or bad their previous three albums have been, Portugal. The Man have basically reinvented themselves for each release. Now, just one year after the release of Censored Colors, we have the oddly titled The Satanic Satanist, and for the first time, it feels like Portugal. The Man have finally settled down into an amalgamation of their previous sounds. This isn't a bad thing; quite the contrary, actually. The Satanic Satanist is their best album since Waiter: You Vultures! It's got the riffs of Church Mouth without the fuzz; they are instead treated with a bluesy clarity, adorned with the volume that was sometimes lacking on Waiter, which had production that seemed oddly quiet at times. (Remember how frustrating the "loud" parts in "Stables & Chairs" were when they just didn't seem loud enough?) And for anyone who found the fifteen tracks of Censored Colors a bit too much to take in one sitting, The Satanic Satanist remedies that eleven songs in just under thirty-five minutes.

John Gourley's vocal performance is nothing short of amazing. At long last, he sounds like a confident and competent vocalist, and his voice has finally been given the volume it deserves, dominating the music. Furthermore, he comes through with some of his most accomplished melodies yet; the descending bridge of "Lovers In Love" is one of the album's catchiest moments (assisted by some great, creative bass playing), and at the end of "Mornings," The Satanic Satanist's best song, when Gourley's voice slides into the upper register, it is a supremely affecting musical moment. For the past few years, Portugal. The Man have seemed simply to be a fun band, but with this album, they have presented an emotional work of art. The music is, as ever, varied and interesting. The Satanic Satanist is a guitar-centric album and it is all the better for it, as Gourley has a unique knack for riffs and leads. The musical standout is "People Say," and the positives that can be said about that song can be said about the entire album - bluesy yet still involved, clean-toned yet still gloriously loud. Portugal. The Man have made their best album since their debut.

And it has to be said, the packaging is amazing. Buy this if you've got the money.



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user ratings (602)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Alex J. Carter (4)
Portugal. The Man is a very solid band, but was this album a bad first impression?...

Alex C. Soothsayer (4)
The band crafts their best work yet, jam packed with catchy hooks and soulful tunes....


Comments:Add a Comment 
mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2009



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I AM BUT A MAN BUT A PROUD PROUD MAN

Prophet178
July 20th 2009



6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Hopefully your review gets it some more attention, this is an awesome album.

elephantREVOLUTION
July 20th 2009



2733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album is pretty sweet but i haven't listened to it enough yet. "lovers in love" is amazing

Circa4life
July 20th 2009



289 Comments


Damn, if it is as good as there debut then I will be checking this out!

Prophet178
July 20th 2009



6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I'd say its better than "Waiters".

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2009



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

More like "even more boring than Censored Colors, something nigh impossible"

PanasonicYouth
July 20th 2009



7411 Comments


had this before i had to wipe my hard drive. good stuff.

oathfbass
July 20th 2009



388 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Me and Iluvatar share the same opinion.


If you enjoy tracks that tend to repeat themselves continuously for 3-4 minutes then you'll enjoy this album.

PuddlesPuddles
July 20th 2009



4765 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Checkin' this out right now

scyther
July 20th 2009



1606 Comments


Nice review, you make the band sound more than arty farty indie shmindie. I'll probably check this out though.

astrel
July 20th 2009



2614 Comments


I didn't even like their debut so I highly doubt I will enjoy this.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
July 20th 2009



4939 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this is stupid.

gaslightanthem
July 20th 2009



5209 Comments


i used to like this band but then idk

Athom
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2009



17197 Comments


This shit rules

Taxt
July 20th 2009



610 Comments


Album is forgettable.
An enjoyable listen, but nothing I'll come back to.

PuddlesPuddles
July 20th 2009



4765 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is pretty good, it's mellow but not faceless

PaperTigers
July 20th 2009



209 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is probably the most interesting indie album I've heard....further evidence that nothing is as wussy and bland as indie rock.

gaslightanthem
July 20th 2009



5209 Comments


so u havent listened to much indie then

handoman
July 20th 2009



2386 Comments


says the guy who listens to emo and indie

gaslightanthem
July 20th 2009



5209 Comments


loooooooool



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