Portugal. The Man - Evil Friends

An album that ebbs and flows, and shines throughout.


Productivity in a band is almost always something to be admired, especially when it’s as consistently brilliant as that of Portugal. The Man. ‘Evil Friends’ is the Portland band’s eighth album to be released in as many years; a sure-fire sign that their output isn’t slowing down any time soon. It’s a good job it isn’t decreasing in quality either.

The title track, released as a teaser months previously, is the heaviest offering here, swaying in to live before crashing into a Hives-esque riff. It’s the most straightforward moment on the record, but still unique enough to be an impressive introduction and foreword to the album.

Baggy, psychedelic vocals make up a large amount of ‘Evil Friends’, overset by layers of acoustic guitar, aggressive piano and fuzzy guitar solos that belong in another decade, yet intertwine themselves into this wonderfully crafted sound that Portugal. The Man produce.

‘Modern Jesus’ provides the crux of the record, with its MGMT-like layered vocals, Another little something is added with every subsequent chorus, the song proving a real trip of three minutes before ending abruptly to enter the guitar-heavy ‘Hip Hop Kids’.

In closer ‘Smile’, vocalist John Gourley muses “I don’t wanna talk about the world alright, I just wanna sleep with a smile tonight / When I wake up in the morning I don’t watch the news, I just wake up with a smile.” Autobiographical? Maybe. Thought provoking? Definitely. It’s quite a note to end on; the end of an album that ebbs and flows, and shines throughout.

For creating something as fresh and strong as this at album number eight, Portugal. The Man deserve to be applauded.
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