If you look up at the above picture you'll see a band who look like they have a bit of fun. That band, in case you hadn't picked by the post-title, is Portugal. The Man
. And that photo is probably the only time you'll see the band being anything but serious. They are just one of a handful of artists that I have been following ever since their beginning and have witnessed, this one in-particular, only continue to rise up and up with each release and secure a spot safely as one of my favorite bands. Their now three albums into their career, and with their latest (and most definitely their most creative) album, Censored Colors
, we (well, I) have noticed a band that has matured from their roots and have taken on exploring directions that people probably wouldn't have expected the band to look down at all. It's worked out superbly for them, and I think with the album being released through their own label (but also having that extra support from Equal Vision) has given them that freedom they were most likely after all along. Censored Colors
is a huge step-up from last year's release, Church Mouth
, and sees the group taking in influences from just about everywhere from 70's rock (they most definitely found/rediscovered the Led Zep records), vintage folk, and just about every other genre out there worth messing around with. I've spent the last couple of days just trying to think of a way to describe the sound of which Portugal. The Man have found themselves doing, and this is what I could come up with (poorly, might I add); A piano/acoustic-based less-experimental Mars Volta with shorter songs sort of. The vocals sound nothing like The Mars Volta
, but I made that comparison due to the fact that the group have incorporated a wide-range of instrumentation and new structuring of their songs that has that familiarity (just listen to the fade between 'New Orleans'
and 'Never Pleased'
and you'll see). Censored Colors
is probably one of only a handful of albums released this year that I have not gotten sick of at any stage of the album's progression, and definitely one I'm not shy of putting on repeat. I was by no-means disappointed with Church Mouth
last year, but I did see some struggles and worrying signs and it pleases me to say that this is a band that has truly found themselves now. Their confident, their rousing, their everything I want at this current moment, and produced a 15-track album worth more then just one listen. Album of the Year contender? You better believe it.
Portugal. The Man Lay Me Back Down
Portugal. The Man New Orleans
/ Never Pleased
Portugal. The Man 1989Purchase Censored Colors.