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Evil Friends

4.6 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

When it came time to begin work on the seventh album, Gourley thought long and hard about the next move and kept coming back to one concept: The most satisfying work is collaborative work. From building houses with his father in Alaska to building a devoted fanbase, he had sought partnerships. So he took a bold step - bold for a proven band, bolder still for its uncertainty of sound - a step up to the apartment of a possible collaborator, Danger Mouse.

So Danger Mouse - aka Brian Burton, the five-time Grammy award winning producer behind everything from Gnarls Barkley and Beck to The Black Keys and now U2 -and the band agreed that they were game for the challenge and began production on what would become Evil Friends, the undaunted re-awakening for Portugal. The Man. As much as their collaborative imaginations melded, to construct songs that lived up to the ambitious visions they had would take some time. After all, here was a band with an evolving lineup - Kyle O'Quin on keyboards, Noah Gersh on guitar/percussion/keyboards, and Kane Ritchotte on drums joined Zach Carothers on bass and vocals and Gourley on lead vocals and guitar - building songs with a new producer trying to do something neither of them had done before.

Each track on Evil Friends is as different from the next as Portugal. The Man's previous records were from each other, which is to say a piece of a growing mindscape, and wholly a part of the group's tumbling fever dream.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 4, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B00C0UO1JE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,144 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I love just about every track on this album and I've listened through it four or five times in the couple days that I've had it. That said, I understand some of the lower reviews out of people wanting a more 'In the Mountain' 'Censored Colors' feel but that just isn't going to happen. The collaboration with Danger Mouse and lineup changes have quite obviously changed the band's sound, but not in a bad way at all. If you're an open-minded fan of Portugal the man, you'll enjoy this album. There are still plenty of hints of the 'old' band in there.

(The one star review lost all credit to me when it started mentioning the 'Illuminati' conspiracy.)

If the guys want to write about evil. Then let them write about evil.

Great band.
Great album.
Enjoy.

"After you, hell should be easy."
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Format: MP3 Music
I'm a late comer to Portugal The Man so take this review for what it's worth. I do know that whatever Danger Mouse touches delights my ears to no end though. After seeing PTM at Coachella I was extremely impressed with their sound and wanted to hear more. Honestly I haven't been album to stop this album for the past month. It's full of catchy hooks and interesting/fun arrangements. Lots of sing alongs that will be fun to experience live with the band are sprinkled throughout the LP. Definitely one of my favorite albums of 2013 so far.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Produced by Danger Mouse, this is a fantastic listen front to back. John and crew dish out the groovy riffs, psychedelic funk, falsetto vocals, and instrumental experimentation you expect from PTM in a clean, cohesive presentation. Songs like Hip Hop Kids, Creep in a T-Shirt, and Evil Friends will be the initial draw for most, but you'd be missing out if you didn't give the rest a listen- it truly is one of those rare albums that works from beginning to end.

WIth all the great music here though, the biggest draw for me are the lyrics- don't expect any whiney "why are we here? what are we doing?" bologna. John speaks the plain truth of someone in touch with the most honest part of the human condition- "It's not that I'm evil, I just don't like to pretend...that I could ever be your friend." Upon first listen lines like this might come off as arrogance. It's not. Listen to the rest of the album (and the prior ones) and you see it's nothing more than a whole-hearted self-awareness (applicable to ALL of us) that most people pretend just isn't there. Great music played to a gritty, rubber-meets-the-road philosophy class? Who couldn't love that?
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Format: MP3 Music
Odds are that at some point, Portugal the Man will put out a bad album. "Evil Friends" is not that album. "Evil Friends" is a very good album. Possibly a great album. Continuing their ever so slightly shape shifting ways, PTM leaves behind the rhythmically driven, T-Rex jams of their past couple albums and instead delivers a thumping, piano driven rock album that evokes images of other bands but always sounds like Portugal. The Man.
The album opens with the ambitious "Plastic Soldiers", a song that travels from acoustic ballad to funky folk to midtempo rocker to a soaring, harmony laced climax in just over five minutes. "Creep in a T-Shirt" will be the band's first hit if the world is a just place, an infectiously bouncy romp with horns and some rare salty language from Gourley. "Evil Friends" starts off low key for the first minute before an abrupt change in gears, highlighted by some absolutely nasty bass and a short burst of a guitar solo, a la Dave Davies' early Kinks stuff. The tone is set early and almost every song follows the template (and works): mix it up, shift gears, have fun making great pop music.
As great as the songs are- the album closes with two instant classics reminiscent of the trio that open the album- the production make this one of if not the best sounding PTM album. The bass punches, the piano leaves an impact, and the drums dominate without cluttering; and in the midst, perfectly placed, soars Gourley's amazing voice. The lyrics deal with all manners of spirituality- from organized religion to every day notions of what it means to be good and evil- and Danger Mouse's production works wonders with the material.
Somehow, Portugal the Man has managed to keep their streak alive, recording yet another satisfying pop album from start to finish.
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Format: Audio CD
Portugal. The Man is a unique band from the standpoint that all of their CDs have a different style to them, so they never make the same CD twice. This can also be frustrating for fans who are hoping for a specific sound from a previous CD. For example, I was not a huge fan of the previous release "In The Mountain In The Cloud."

After listening to it for the past week repeatedly, I can say I am a huge fan of this CD. The songs are simpler and cleaner from a music standpoint from previous releases, but still well thought-out. The songs are catchy and the lyrics are great. There isn't a bad song on the CD. If you like "Evil Friends" and "Purple Yellow Red and Blue" they are a pretty good representation of the style of music here.

I'm surprised that about the number of bad reviews I'm seeing here, this is my favorite CD since The Satanic Satanist (which is my favorite PTM CD). If you are a fan a great indie rock you should definitely buy it!
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