Open wide: Portugal. The Man MP3s
The EP is music's dress rehearsal, its pre-season. There's room to breathe, to explore, to make mistakes. The stakes aren't nearly as high, the spotlight not nearly as hot. And yet in that realm of reasonable expectations, bands can also produce some of their most intriguing and memorable music. Without having to save up their energy for a full-length run, they can give us bursts of brilliance and fun throwaway moments, not to mention songs that wouldn't fit in anywhere else.
Portugal. The Man's new EP, It's Complicated Being A Wizard, is one such odd-man-out. As the band's lead singer, John Baldwin Gourley, casually describes it, "[It's] going to be the first in a line of self release/ random release shit we will be doing... These EPs won't always represent the sound that the album will be taking (as is the case here) but it is a fun way to send some music around." To make matters even more audacious, the EP consists of one twenty-three-minute title track, and nine subsequent tracks that loop through that same song afterward.
If that sounds kind of wild/bewildering, wait till you get to the music. It's heady, ambient and experimental, as much an avant thinkpiece as rock soundscape. It beeps, swoons, bristles and chugs along at a leisurely, peaceful pace. It's peppered with lyrical excerpts from their great 2006 debut Waiter: "You Vultures!" and remains powerfully graced with Baldwin Gourley's otherworldly, androgynous vocals.
The clear corollary in my mind is Liars, who similarly delight in confounding expectations and defying their audience's stamina. Factor in the overlap in subject matter ("If Your A Wizard Then Why Do You Wear Glasses") and the tremendous potential of Portugal. The Man becomes apparent. Who knows what they'll possibly attempt as a follow-up or what it'll sound like? With the freedom of the EP format and the commitment to invention this band has demonstrated on It's Complicated Being A Wizard, I'm thrilled to say I have absolutely no idea.
* MP3: "Ruby Magic" - Portugal. The Man from It's Complicated Being A Wizard EP [Buy it]
* Band Website: Portugal. The Man
Tags: Portugal. The Man, John Baldwin Gourley, Alaska, EP, MP3