It took me a second, but I’m right here with Portugal. The Man. On Alphabet Snack Region, we explored their music on our show centered around the letter P. We mostly stuck to Woodstock and Evil Friends, but I’m right here now. I’m in it. Portugal. The Man, is good.
The name, Portugal. The Man, comes from the idea that it’s bigger than any one person. They thought, “Portugal, there’s a lot of people there.” Then they thought, “The Man could be any one of us, perfect.” And BAM, a hipster group is formed. Simple as that. This Alaskan band that adopted Portland as its home has been playing in one form or another since 2001. Frontman John Gourley first created the group Anatomy of a Ghost, but after its demise formed Portugal. The Man with the help of a few from the former group. They released their debut album, Waiter: “You Vultures!” in 2006. After appearing at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, SXSW, and other festivals, they’ve found themselves at quite a moment of fame. Their hits, “Feel It Still” and “Live in the Moment” have launched them to win Grammy Awards and rise to the top of the charts. Name a late night talk show and they’ve graced the stage there.
It’s late 2018, how am I just now getting here? Where is here? Here is where I say Portugal. The Man is really really good. They’re considered “rock,” but it’s not in your face rock. It’s more like a cooler version of Arctic Monkey’s album, AM. This is rock’s new face, I suppose. I’m not a music critic by any means, so I can’t expertly point out trends in the music industry or anything, but as a consumer, indie pop seems to be spreading. Its influence can be heard everywhere and I don’t think Portugal. The Man’s latest music is an exception. That being said, it’s by no means a pop group – no way.
Before they had a drummer (in the Anatomy of a Ghost days), they used drum machines and synth-loops to form the back beat. This steady and groovy beat is still prominent in their music, nevermind the fact that its a person doing the drumming. Take a listen to “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” and you can find something else indicative of a Portugal. The Man piece. There’s almost this choral element to it, spacy even. “Number One” has that feeling as well with a more electronic tone. That tone follows along pretty well with how their music sounds as a whole. Much like Unknown Mortal Orchestra, their music feels like AI daydreaming. Unlike UMO, today’s Portugal. The Man makes sure to point out that their music is 100 percent made by instruments, not computers. There’s a lot going on in their music. Normally, I’m not a fan of music with a bunch of parts because often times it just creates a lot of noise – filler sounds, but Portugal. The Man isn’t like that. They use enough to make the magic happen. These skinny white guys produce some bangin’ music. Is that what kids say now?