Portugal. The Man – The Satanic Satanist

Portugal. The Man – The Satanic Satanist

Portugal. The Man – The Satanic Satanist

When you’ve made a habit and more so, a reputation, out of releasing album after album of music, your fans have grown to expect certain things. These can range from diversity to creativity, to quality, to even the same thing each time out. For Portugal. The Man, yes spellcheck, that punctuation is intended, they’ve now made four albums in three years. But with their newest, The Satanic Satanist, they’ve become redundant and dare I say, generic.

Your band title reflects a larger than life feeling, as if there are more important things than music. However, Portugal. The Man’s music are cheery, poppy, light musings that not only appear on the surface but in the deep caverns that house the lyrics. As for the lyrics, I don’t think there is much to be found, for anyone.

Something like “Lovers Love” is a bright and sunny tune with electronic flurries to boast. It rides on top of a synthetic carpet with accompanying female vocals on the chorus. Later, the two strike against each other, relaying “love”’s back and forth. And while “Do You” does everything it can to try and accomplish some kind of higher thinking, it’s just another forgettable smile.

These kinds of moments are not only hard to judge but indubitably, it creates quite the quandary. The concept behind the band’s name is something around the lines of representing an entire country but as one person, or something like that. Pretty weighty thoughts indeed and yet, the music is all fluff and dressing.

“People Say” is a ready-for-radio, guitar and drum shuffle that finds lead singer John Gourley pulling off his best impersonation of Jason Mraz. And then on “Everyone is Golden,” the band does their very best at rekindling the mystique that Dr. Dog reigns, before coming up short. Much more like classic rock mixed with synths and “la-la-la” choruses that are purposely written so that they are easy to sing along to, it all feels empty.

Such complaints might be the exact things that the Alaskan trio welcome. Their steady legion of fans surely do eat up this stuff and if it’s working on some elementary level, why change it? More of that Mraz vibe pops up on “The Woods”’s old-time feel and the smooth, campfire stroll of “Mornings” is a fashionable achievement. Kindly assembled around stuttering guitars and a full bag of strings, its electric guitar elevates it into a spacey realm of success.

Even when the questions feel unnecessary, some kind of alteration or modification is in store for Portugal. The Man. The deluxe version comes equipped with ten acoustic variations of the same songs found on The Satanic Satanist so obviously there is somebody who is sensing this. Until then, the band will continue to phone in the same formula that has gotten them this far. But, just one more, how much longer can they sustain that?

“People Say” by Portugal. The Man

Equal Vision Records