Moroccan Role: Portugal. The Man - <i>Church Mouth</i>

Moroccan Role

A Totally Kiler Music/MP3 Blog.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Portugal. The Man - Church Mouth

Portugal. the Man is an experimental rock trio from Alaska who will release their sophomore album, Church Mouth, on July 24th. Their debut album, Waiter: “You Vultures!”, was released in early 2006 and enjoyed very 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.

MP3: Portugal. The Man - "Church Mouth"
MP3: Portugal. The Man - "Shade"

Pre-order the album here.


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18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if I'm disappointed about Church Mouth...mainly for the heavy absence of keyboards, which were essentially the backbone of Waiter: You Vultures.

Eh.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Matt Ambrose said...

Absolute brilliance. This is one of those albums that just hits that musical nerve in you. There wasn't one part of it that I didn't like; I felt so familiar with it, as if I've been listening to the album religiously for a year and it still wasn't old.

As for the style, I see it as a step up for Portugal. Waiter: You Vultures was an amazing album, but didn't seem to flow the same way this does. The sound throughout this album is rather universal. There are so many genre-influences mixed together; classic rock, some metal, folk, some chain-gang chanting, some pop thrown in there... and just that indescribable Portugal. The Man sound.

I give it a 10/10. Put this on top of your 'Christmas in July' list.

1:56 PM  
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The lackluster "My Mind" ? I think it's one of the album's stronger tracks.

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