Photography by Jo (again)
Suddenly experiencing a bit o’ déjà vu? I don’t blame you… On June 30th we were discussing Portugal. The Man’s The Satanic Satanist and here we are not even a month later and we got our grubby little hands on another PtM album, The Majestic Majesty…
Confused? Don’t be… The ever prolific Portugal. The Man have simply put together an “acoustic” version of The Satanic Satanist, note for note, word for word, and released it digitally! WOOT!
Okay, this kinda thing is tough. Why? Well, you know I like to try to review albums in the vacuum of their own existence, right? Well, except when trying to describe the evolution of their sound maybe.. Afterall, I’m not the same man I was a year or two ago. An album release is a culmination and expression of where an artist is now, not then.
But, how do you discuss an acoustic version of an album you’ve grown to love over the past month without comparing the two? I don’t know if you can… So I’ll get them out of the way and make two comparisons to The Satanic Satanist right now… One, we already know, it’s for the most part, acoustic (I think there’s an organ in there somewhere on a song or two), so there’s that one. Two, it’s a little slower.
Though, at first, the slowed down songs may throw you off a smidgen, the combination of slowing it down and acousticifying it up add a bit more meaning and depth to the sound and lyrics. Now personally, I’m not always a fan of the “hey we unplugged the instruments, let’s take it down a notch” approach, bands like Violent Femmes have shown that just because you don’t plug it in, doesn’t mean you have to sit down and dim the lights.
“Taking it down a notch” can be tricky. It’s a fine line between building intimacy ala Nirvana’s Unplugged performance (man, their cover of “The Man Who Sold The World” is still so beautiful, eh?) and creating “More Than Words” Part II, i.e. a big heaping helping pile of cheesy cheestastic cheesiness.
You ever listen to “More Than Words”? The whole thing? Start to finish?? Go ahead, I’ll wait…
Still going isn’t it?
Not done yet, right?
Yeah, the song, literally, never ends. I think it clocks in at about an hour…
Well, fortunately for us, unlike the Sex Godness That Is Extreme our boys from Alaska walked the line just right. Erasing Satanic Satanist out of your head and listening to Majestic Majesty “as is”, you look down and find a beautifully crafted, organic and rich, album. It’s even, intimate, and full. Listening, you feel like you are privy to a special, invite-only, mini-concert of Satanic Satanist! Does that make sense?
Why did Portugal. The Man release this? No clue, but we are all better off because of it. So here on this lovely sunny Friday before we head into another wonderful weekend, onceagain, enjoy the first few tracks off the album to get your mouth watering, then go buy the rest!
Have a great weekend!
Got no soul?
That’s fine, alright…
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