The Satanic Satanist by Portugal. The Man: Got no soul, that’s fine, alright…

Photography by Jo

You know I like me some Portugal. The Man, their last album Censored Colors landed at No. 6 on our Most Awesomest Tsururific Albums Of 2008! That, alone, is no small feat. So imagine my surprise and childlike glee when I heard that they were already ready to drop (as the kids say) a new album on us, adorably named The Satanic Satanist.

With a title like this and a cover like that, along with their tendency to shape-shift more often than a horny William, I had NO idea what to expect. Turns out “People Say”, featured in one of our tsuruloosie reviews, was the leadoff track, which comes off odd because it really sounds like something that you’d expect later in the album. So, fine, “People Say” gets us going with it’s easy going countrified classic rock n’ groove, setting the tone and sending a message about war. We already liked this song, so my head’s bobbing along, a little knowing smile in my ears… So this is where they want to begin.

Suddenly it ends and we literally fall into “Work All Day”, a steady beat takes over, smooth, a little gold chain, a little cocked fedora or something along those lines, and something I never expected from Portugal. The Man….. Swagger.

“Lovers In Love” continues the theme. Suddenly I’m wondering if these guys spent the time since Censored Colors in Harlem, circa 1970-something! I was half-expecting a guest appearance by Shaft!

Not singing, mind you, just standing there in the studio, just like that.

The album cruises by, dropping more swagger, grabbing it’s balls, and generally being “the shit” until “Do You” when I felt like we dropped back into Censored Colors territory again… A lovely rockin’ dirge of sorts that transitions us nicely into trippy Beatles LSD fields of heart shaped flower children purple lover moon bubbles with “Everyone Is Golden”. How is possible these guys keep pulling me further and further back? How did I go from skin-tight ball-hugging bell-bottom polyester slacks to a tie-dye shirt, cut offs, and stupid round glasses! You bastards….

That’s the thing about Portugal. The Man, regardless of the album, is that that’s what they are crafting…. ALBUMS. In a world where iTunes reigns supreme and bloggy blogs are quick to post the new song or remix of a song or a cover of a dead pop star’s song that happened to show up in their inbox, the art of the album is dying. Ironic when you think vinyl record sales are up, eh?

Why records? I think two reasons…. One, it’s hip/fashionable/etc to buy records, so that’s some of the sales. But I think (and hope) it’s beyond that. In this disposable culture that I, admittedly, am part of, I think it leaves some of us feeling hollow and empty. Buying a record, an actual LP, opening it, pulling the record out for the first time, dusting it off and the needle, looking at the album art while the album plays, reading the sleeves, it all adds depth to something that is often regulated to a myspace listen and maybe a casual song toss on the ipod.

It’s a shame. How many people will tout the awesomeness of Satanic Satanist but never actually hear the bluesy, psychedelic orgy of “Mornings”? Yeah, he sings “we’ll be just fine, we’ll be just fiiine”, but will we? I’m not as certain. Even he, in the end, admits that he doesn’t believe we will be. I have my good days, my hopeful days, but some days, days when I listen to ALBUMS, I’m not always so sure.

So here, enjoy the first few tracks off the album, get your mouth watering, then go buy the rest!

Portugal The Man – 01 People Say
Portugal The Man – 02 Work All Day

Got no soul?
That’s fine, alright…

Portugal The Man – 03 Lovers In Love

Pretty sweet, eh? Now, go show these boys all your love via your time & moneys here, here, and here!


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5 comments for “The Satanic Satanist by Portugal. The Man: Got no soul, that’s fine, alright…

  1. Matt
    June 30, 2009 at 12:46 PM

    I know we talked about this one a little bit over Facebook last week but I gotta tell you, Tsuru, this one's growin' on me Big Time. And for exactly the reason you wrote… it's an album. It's cohesive and contained and wonderful. These boys never cease to amaze me. Highly recommended (may take a few listens, though).

  2. Tsuru
    June 30, 2009 at 1:18 PM

    Absolutely… I put it back on after I shook off my "Censored Colors Expectations" and found I really really liked it!!!

  3. Brandon
    July 18, 2009 at 4:51 PM

    Man, this album is better and better everytime you listen to it. I'm spreading the love around, so maybe in return more people will support these awesome guys.

  4. Jason
    July 18, 2009 at 8:14 PM

    Just got my pre-order in the mail today. These guys are bringing back genres from the baby boomer generation in a style that's beyond words. It's cool, hip, rad, jive, jazz, the cat's meow, the dean's list, and a lot of other retro adjectives.

    I've loved this band since their Waiters release in 2006 and each album they grow and change their style. Making music to their own beat, almost oblivious to the influence of other artists in their same time (so it seems anyways. after some further look, I can find some influence from Grizzly Bear, among others.).

    This is also the first album where PTM used a big-named producer (more than one I think as well). It's nice to see that they still retain a lot of their style while still pleasing the ears of music big shots.

    This band is going places. If they keep this up, I'll keep supporting and who knows, future music legends possibly?

    Buy. Support. Listen. Love.

  5. Tsuru
    July 21, 2009 at 2:44 PM

    Brandon, agreed! Amazing band, amazing album…. the only thing I can see hurting them is their genre hopping… sometimes it can leave people behind (though personally, I love it!!).

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