Madeline Pieschel

Portugal. The Man brings “Evil Friends” to the Pabst

The eccentrically punctuated band has a tamed, dance and radio-ready sound, thanks to their latest album's producer, Danger Mouse, but expect their concert at the Pabst to be as jam-heavy as ever.

By - Jun 21st, 2013 04:00 am


Even before releasing their new LP, Evil Friends, eccentric, pop-savvy indie rock band, Portugal. The Man was on their way up. Evil Friends, their seventh in an almost-nonstop string of records since 2006, is just the album that’s broken through, earning them a plethora of press and accolades.

In their previous records, including Waiter: “You Vultures!”, The Satanic Satanist and 2011’s In the Mountain In the Cloud, Portugal. The Man has played with many different genres, from the heavily experimental to an occasionally overwhelming psychedelic pop style. Evil Friends has had that impulse tamed by producer Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton), and the resulting album is the sort of thing that appeals to a wider, more-diverse audience: focused, fluid, radio-ready and dancefloor-worthy.

Just because this album is the band’s most consistent-sounding yet doesn’t mean it lacks that Portugal-esque diversity. Evil Friends still incorporates a slew of non-pop sounds and instrumentals, with progressive tone changes throughout each song, including bits of alt rock, psychedelic synths, spacey riffs, electronic punches, guitar acoustics, and even some hip-hop driven beats.  Each song seems to possess its own intriguing peaks and transitions. Opening track “Plastic Soldiers” goes from melancholic, tranquil melodies to upbeat and optimistic hooks, evoking an interesting blend of up and down rhymthms and emotions. Songs “Creep in a T-Shirt”, “Sea of Air”, and “Waves” possess similar qualities. Frontman John Gourley’s vocals, still as distinctive and high-pitched as ever, can become a bit repetitive and monotonous, but the beautiful instrumental mix frequently overshadows them.

Portugal. The Man has a solid live performance reputation, well-known for an aura of confidence and uplifting, body moving setlists. They’ve also got a talent for effortlessly blending each song into the next, and it’s also not unusual for the group to include some classic jam session covers like the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” and “Helter Skelter” into the mix.  Along with new hits from Evil Friends, such as “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” and “Hip Hop Kids,” expect the band’s older sensations like “So American”, “Senseless,” “The Sun” and “How the Leopard Got Its Spots” to make appearances.

Portugal. The Man will perform with special guest Guards at The Pabst Theatre Friday, June 21, in support of Evil Friends. Doors open at 7 p.m.; tickets are $20 and can be purchased online or at (414) 286-3663.

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