Portugal. The Man’s 8th studio album, Evil Friends is here with a huge collaboration with producer Danger Mouse.
Evil Friends has that glossy feel that Danger Mouse is best known for and has been talked about for a while now as the band teased fans by slowly releasing details about the new record by posting pics of Danger Mouse producing the record then releasing the album art and name to their personal instagram account. I guess there is no better way than social media, right guys?
So naturally there is going to be some hype around Evil Friends which is the first ‘Portugal’ release since 2011’s In The Mountain In The Cloud.
Plastic Soldiers, the opener of Evil Friends, mixes an acoustic feel with heavy effected keys and distorted vocals that are sad and drawn out till it hits around 1 min 20 where the track takes a new turn with guitar picking in double time bringing a more up beat tempo while still playing with melancholic lyrics.
Creep In A T-Shirt is an addictive tune and could easily be a single, from the rhythmic elements of the keys and drums and the bellowing of the brass section and the catchy chorus, ‘I’m just a creep in a t-shirt, jeans I don’t fucking care.’ The track Evil Friends is probably the most poppy song on the album, with the message being to kick your no good, soul sucking bad energy friends to the curb. The lyrics are cute and catchy – it kind of reminds me of the high energy that The Hives give off.
Modern Jesus, Hip Hop Kids and Atomic Man all sit in the same category where they are all a little more chilled than the songs before them. Experimenting with interesting vocal melodies and counter melodies with big electronic influences, all three songs have big chorus moments. The cool thing about Evil Friends, even through it plays a lot with effects and electronic elements, is that the main instrument is an acoustic guitar which makes an interesting listening point, especially in the song Sea Of Air where it is most prominent.
Sea Of Air is almost a folk track working with a repetitive vocal line; “We got the whole world hanging there, in our little sea of air” with group vocals singing along making its chant feel come alive. It’s so simplistic that it really works and is definitely a stand out on the LP.
Purple Yellow Red and Blue is a single off Evil Friends and has an interesting concept for the video. If you get the chance to check it out, do it! The track has a huge gang vocal and tribal rhythm to it and like most tracks before it, mellows out in the verses. There are drug connotations throughout the lyrics while it explores the social norm. The interesting thing about Evil Friends is the lyrical content which pushes the boundaries in each topic that is addressed while almost sugar coating it with the instrumental melodies, making the topic more sweet and crunchy.
For an 8th LP its pretty great. Portugal.The Man is still fresh with relevant ideas and there is not a boring moment on Evil Friends. I honestly recommend giving it a listen. You won’t be disappointed.