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| If you are anything like me, you are fed up with “indie rock.” You cannot stand another Strokes single, you hate the “yupster” label that the OC has created for rich honkeys who listen to corporate “indie,” and the only thing you find more disgusting than the new Hot Hot Heat single is their groupies. And you have waited two or three damn years for a good “indie” rock album to come out. Well, not to be cliché, but your search has ended. It really has.
Portugal. The Man is a little band made up of former members of Anatomy of a Ghost. If you expect anything like Anatomy of a Ghost, you are a fool.
I’d like to describe P.TM as an “experimental indie” band. The songs are somewhat structured like traditional indie, if there is such a term. I’m talking minimalism: one instrument starts the song, the other parts come in, and they repeat parts, but it is not quite the verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure.
Look, I’m trying real hard to describe how P.TM is indie, but I’m failing. Because the more I listen to it, the less it sounds like indie. It’s like when I was told Mars Volta was hardcore. No, it wasn’t. It was extremely experimental, successful, with no imitators. What Mars Volta is to “hardcore” is what Portugal. The Man is to “indie.”
Here’s a specific example: track six on Waiter: You Vultures!, “Elephant.” It starts out with a clean, bright guitar line with huge tremolo effect. The vocals come in, slow tempo. A mellow synth creeps in and follows the guitar. At the end of the second stanza, a taxi of sound drives in, bringing in handclaps, tambourines, a soft acoustic, and loud bass guitar. The guitar switches into fuzzy overdrive. It reminds me of a gypsy dance, for some reason. Vocals continue with more power, and at the end of some stanzas everything fades except a slow acoustic arpeggio. Three minutes in, the tambourine shakes more violently, background voices shout from 1 to 7 and then become incoherent, a snare roll ensues and grows louder, leading the guitar and bass into a breakdown-type number. Vocals sing a verse, and the instrumental tsunami fades. Fin.
That was a four minute orgy in my ears. Soon to be eight minute, as I hit the repeat button. All the other songs on this album are just as intricate, just as convincing, and just as enjoyable. This is truly a band that knows how to write balanced and intelligent lines without being repetitive. This album is blatantly amazing, but if you pay attention to the subtle instrumentations, you’re getting the full show.
Each song is an unprecedented masterpiece. This album is not just for people who like indie, not just for people who want a different type of indie, but for anyone who appreciates fine music.
| WAITER: YOU VULTURES!
1) How the Leopard Got Its Spots
2) Gold Fronts
3) Stables and Chairs
<< 4) AKA M80 the Wolf >>
5) Marching with 6
9) Bad Bad Levi Brown
10) Kill Me the King
12) Horse Warming Party
13) Guns... Guns... Guns