Today, I’m obsessively listening to Portugal. The Man’s latest record, Censored Colors.
So first, I was all, oops, who is that serenading me? Is it the guy
from Cold War Kids! Oh, no, wait, it’s the man-child from Maroon 5! But
it isn’t. Nope! Portugal. The Man‘s
lead duder (formerly of Anatomy of a Ghost) is a young fellow by the
name of John Baldwin Gourley, and his pyschadelic soprano flies up and
down the scale with an ease many an American Idol contestant have tried and failed to fake. Paula would heart him.
Censored Colors itself is a weird indie experiment that really,
really works: bluesy piano trills, hymnal shouts, and country twang
coalesce from track to track, and often within the same song. The
album’s centerpiece is the ultra-emotive “Salt,”
in which Gourley pushes to the limit and never bails out: “I was born
of sunbeams,” he wails over an ocean of heavy metal guitar riffs. “I’ll
never come back down, I’ll never come down from here.” Good, please
don’t, I prefer you preaching from your indie-rock pulpit. I believe!
Hey, also! Portugal. The Man are originally from Wasilla, Alaska. And Gourley wrote a touching essay on the band’s website about why this country doesn’t need Sarah Palin. H
Holy yay, they’re playing the Bowery Ballroom on Halloween. That will be a good-times show.