Portugal. The Man are a band with a reputation for being slightly… well, odd. Having never broken the mainstream - nor the indie mainstream to a huge degree, either - the eclectic Alaskan band based around John Gourley have been plugging away since 2004, releasing quietly acclaimed albums and EPs, and playing festival slots that other bands of their stature would be entitled to turn down.
That may not change with the release of their fourth full-length album, but it should. The Portland-based band (it's the new Brooklyn, you know) have always been creatures of reinvention, and 'The Satanic Satanist' sees them establish their psychedelic pop phase. There are shades of Of Montreal in some of these songs, although they're not as wacky or theatrical, and their tempos aren't as stop-start as Kevin Barnes's compositions often are.
Gourley's clear falsetto is one of the best things about this album, though, adding colour, vibrance and an attitudal swagger to an already animated atmosphere. Musically, it's a terrifically well produced album, too. Harmonies and slick, subtle undercurrents of organ, soul and instrumental twinkles are plentiful, and they tie funky, lighthearted indie ('Work All Day', 'The Home') with Abbey Road-style pop ('Everything is Golden') and noisy, grungey, Pixies-like tunes ('Do You') together in a neat bundle.
With so much eclecticism packed into 37.5 minutes, 'The Satanic Satanist' might have been overwhelming or offputting in the hands of another band. With Portugal. The Man, it's a lean, natural sounding record that's enjoyable from start to finish. Highly recommended.