Portugal. The Man
It's Complicated Being a Wizard


4.0
excellent

Review

by Alex C. Soothsayer USER (33 Reviews)
January 15th, 2010 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Portugal. The Man attempt to channel Kid A...

...And succeed! For the most part that is. Firstly, think about that statement again, how many records can one compare to Kid A? Not many I would wager. Radiohead managed to revolutionize themselves and music as a whole by bringing electronic beats and fuzz to alternative rock. What made Kid A such a brilliant album is the human element Radiohead somehow kept amidst all the computerized noise. Alaskan indie band Portugal. The Man gave a shot at this approach on their fourth release (third EP) It's Complicated Being a Wizard.

The 23 minute EP (23 being Michael Jordan's iconic number, former player for the Washington Wizards, get it?) consisting of one track is a roller coaster ride of electronic fuzz, crooning vocals and waves of different moods. The EP also contains 9 more tracks, but don't get excited, the extra tracks are just the 23 minute track broken up into smaller tracks for those with ADHD or obsessive Last.fm users. It's Complicated is a turn in a completely new direction for the band. On their debut, Waiter, "You Vultures!", Portugal. displayed a strong knack for composing solid indie songs with a progressive rock edge. Just one release later Portugal. tosses away their instruments for electronic beats and puts forth their most experimental record yet.

Right from the opening minutes it is apparent this is not your typical Portugal. album. Electronic bleeps and fuzz wash over the soundscape as John's vocals enter buried beneath the noise. Just like Kid A the computerized component of the music is overwhelming, but unlike Kid A, Portugal. embraces the noise instead of trying to humanize it. However, somehow the band manages to form a perfect harmony between the electronic and human element. The EP flows from slow trip-hop style beats to upbeat electronica type jams. At times the band will employ their hard instruments, either by sampling a guitar line, spraying out some moog synth or incorporating live drumming. It's at those times when the EP shines the most. 'Sapphire Magic' calls upon a sampled guitar line and layered vocals, 'Amber Magic' brings the bass to the front and 'Gold Magic' almost throws away the electronic beats entirely. A majority of the EP focuses on purely instrumental sections that repeat throughout the EP, something the band has never done in the past or since. The pacing of the album between the drawn out instrumentals and energetic band based material works perfectly in its favor. On multiple listens more instruments and vocal lines will pop out at the listener, rewarding those who give the album time.

Not many bands can claim to have captured the soul of Kid A in their work, but Portugal. The Man can. It's Complicated Being a Wizard is a daring expirment of an album that works surprisingly well. Electronic beats replace guitars and drums, throwing focus on the vocals and noise the band produces. At a brief 23 minutes long, Portugal. brings the listener on an unforgettable ride filled with surprises. Ranging from slow and sexy to upbeat and energetic there is something for everyone here. It's Complicated Being a Wizard is an interesting journey that should not be missed.



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user ratings (167)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Prophet178
January 15th 2010


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

4 down, 3 to go.

Foxhound
January 15th 2010


4570 Comments


Forgot about this band but I loved Satanic Satanist, and your review was ..meh pos'd.

Prophet178
January 15th 2010


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah I had trouble writing it. Thanks for the pos though.

feav233
January 15th 2010


1411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

awesome albums, awesome review man

DiceMan
January 15th 2010


7068 Comments


So this is similar to Kid A? Hmm.. I will be downloading this.

But it sounds nothing like The Satanic Satanist?

Prophet178
January 15th 2010


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks feav.

Yeah, it's really electronic but it still has that alt-rock thing going on. Nothing like Satanist.

brutebeard
January 15th 2010


1655 Comments


Is this less monotonous than The Satanic Satanist?

Prophet178
January 15th 2010


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Haha I guess, it's meant to be listened to as one track, and it goes through 9 different movements, so I don't find it very monotonous.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
January 15th 2010


17945 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

sucks

Ire
January 16th 2010


41828 Comments


just like all their other albums.

Prophet178
January 16th 2010


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

lol what?

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 16th 2010


31629 Comments


Members also liked section anything to go by in terms of what these guys sound like Prophet?

Digging: Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

Prophet178
January 16th 2010


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Well this release is totally different from the other stuff they've done, but their other releases I would recommend to fans of Rx Bandits, Mars Volta, Minus the Bear, stuff like that. Waiter, You Vultures is probably their best.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 16th 2010


31629 Comments


Schweet, sounds like my thing

sniper
January 16th 2010


19079 Comments


i like this ep a lot. most people i know complain about this for some reason, but i think it's one of their stronger releases. good review.

G3N3R1C
January 16th 2010


1945 Comments


Just discovered this band recently, have yet to hear this EP yet though. I'll look into it next chance i get.

Church Mouth and The Satanic Satanist are great albums though.

AnotherBrick
January 16th 2010


9772 Comments


i just cant get into this band, my cousin loves them and keeps pushing them on me. and i didnt like kid a *gasp!!* so i guess ill stay away from this one lol and give waiter another shot

Prophet178
January 16th 2010


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

You'd probably Satanist AnotherBro.

RubyMagic
July 13th 2010


4 Comments


This EP is incredible, it has so much feel. Way more unique than their other albums.

SwayzeFaced
July 13th 2010


349 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

One of the standouts from this discography that's for sure. I'd have to say I enjoy it as a 20 min song but saw no reason to add them separately track by track seeing as it's not really worth listening to this album unless you listen to the whole thing.


Sweet review mang.



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