The Satanic Satanist
After a number of releases that confounded some and charmed others, Portugal The Man hit the jackpot with 2008’s Censored Colors, a strong and souful blend of rock styles both vintage and contemporary. The Satanic Satanist is an impressive follow-up, opening and closing with two tracks, “People Say” and “Mornings,” that are ripe with the mature pop swagger of a band like Oasis. And everything in between bursts with chart-topping ambition, although the work is a shade smarter and more complex than most chart fodder. Tracks like “Work All Day” and “The Sun” have a fluid, easy feel, with John Baldwin Gourley’s flowing falsetto leading the synths and guitars into an appealing, colorful mosaic of sunny pop, while tracks like “Lovers In Love” and “The Home” reach back into the vaults of soul and psych-pop hits from yesterday (listen to those raging bongos on “Lovers!”). Produced by Paul Kolderie (Radiohead, Pixies, Uncle Tupelo), The Satanic Satanist propels Portugal The Man to the top of the indie pop heap.