Portgual. The Man: The Satanic Satanist (Approaching AIRBalloons)

While being fairly homogenized in terms of song lengths, the track-to-track motion in The Satanic Satanist is fairly diverse on the whole. It avoid the treacherous wandering so many overly ambitious artists become mired in. In the process of the album’s creation, the members spent their time with rare soul and funk, and this exposure shines through the band’s instrumentation. Singer/guitarist John Baldwin Gourley maintains a register on equal footing with Cold War Kids’ Nathan Willett but without the bombast—no offense intended. The smooth vocals evoke a more soulful delivery. Bassist Zachary Scott Carothers produces a strong bass line with melodic aims, but never forsakes the instrument’s inherent rhythmic abilities. Gourley admits that he even worked on tightening the song structures to better capture the Motown/soul sound the band had been chasing conceptually throughout their recordings. The effort to tighten the songs lessens the overindulgence they often seem to border. The band experimented with a mix of tweaked live recordings, samples, and loops, and the result is a (surprisingly) coherent and effective soul- and funk-inspired album that doesn’t try to overstep itself.

Source: Under the Radar Magazine, Issue 27

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