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Portugal. The Man will release their sixth full-length album, in as many years, this summer. Carrying forth the momentum triggered by their unexpected rise in 2006 and their FM airwave success of “People Say,” (from 2009’s The Satanic Satanist), the album continues the pattern of an album per calendar year, a feat made all the more staggering when you consider the band’s fervent devotion to the open road, logging more than 800 shows—performing everywhere from freight elevators to mesmerizing sets at major festivals—since their inception.
As a result of that commitment to a life of touring, Portugal. The Man’s live show is tight and frenetic, riding a wave of psychedelic intensity. “Expect the unexpected from this [quartet] with its knotty, bone-crushing rock and four-part vocal harmonies,” raved Jim Fusilli of the Wall St. Journal in a recap of a past Lollapalooza. Complete with smoke and lasers, the O.C. Register accurately described Portugal. The Man’s set as a “music-driven installation piece.”
While the lineup of John Gourley, Zachary Scott Carothers, Jason Sechrist, and Ryan Neighbors are firmly devoted to rock and roll scripture—record, tour, repeat as necessary—Portugal. The Man still remains unsettled on the outskirts of any set genres. With untethered roots, the Portland, OR-via-Alaska-based band offers an audible adaptability, one unlike anything offered by their peers, that allows their music to form over a gradual incubation process. Songs are birthed and then organically evolve over the course of the band’s seemingly endless slate of tour dates, along with the sliver of downtime they allow themselves.
At the helm of this recording process was producer John Hill (Santigold, M.I.A.), along with co-production assistance courtesy of Gourley and the band’s longtime collaborator Casey Bates. Grammy-winning studio engineer Andy Wallace (Nirvana, Coldplay, Paul McCartney) mixed the album.
Portugal. The Man’s insatiable need to create extends far from the recorded process itself. Gourley and art collaborator Austin Sellers, known together as The Fantastic The, spend countless hours on painstakingly assembled artwork, unique stage backdrops, merchandise, and just about all other facades of an image that the band lovingly controls. Gourley says “It just makes sense to me that the images we create whether it is the art, stage design, videos, whatever all fit with the songs. When I write the songs, I always have some image in my mind. It is about making everything cohesive”
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