Portugal. The Man - Church Mouth
enthusiastic reviews in some circles, but went largely unnoticed. Regrettably, I've yet to hear the debut, but thanks to the strength of the second LP, this is likely to change rather quickly. Based on my initial listens to their upcoming album, these guys are proving to an incredibly exciting and promising young band. The first two tracks explode out of the speakers with results similar to what would happen if Mars Volta decided to cut the bullshit and just rock. These guys are a unique indie band that doesn't have any qualms embracing the heaviness of harder rock or feel the need to obscure its psychedelic-tinged pop-rock chops with unnecessary noise around the edges. The have just a touch of a proggish feel, but this can be attributed more to the impressive technical aspects of their playing and arrangements rather than any tendency to sacrifice solid songwriting in favor of unnecessarily complicated or otherwise self-serving instrumentation. For a band that sounds this instantly familiar, their sound is surprisingly difficult to accurately describe. For lack of more clever analogies, imagine if Wolfmother were more original and paid homage to late 60s/early 70s psychedelic hard rock instead of early heavy metal or if Mars Volta streamlined their songwriting and avoided their often-unfortunate habit of being purposefully abstract and willfully difficult.
The title track wastes no time introducing the album's high-wired, near frantic intensity and characteristic solid songwriting and musicianship. The song's undeniable energy carries on through the second track, "Sugar Cinnamon", which employs pounding drums and an awesome psychedelic rave-up feel. Aside from the lackluster "My Mind", the record's first half is practically flawless. Initial album standouts also include tracks three, ("Telling Tellers Tell Me"), five ("Shade"), and later album cut, "Bellies Are Full". While the album maintains a break-neck energy level nearly throughout, the songs are surprisingly well written for a band that rocks this hard. It will take a few more listens to recover from my initial excitement and approach this album critically, but that's for another day. For now, I feel compelled to gush all over this record and when you hear the tunes below, you'll understand why.
Pre-order the album here.
Labels: Portugal The Man