Release Date: Jun 16, 2017
Record label: Atlantic
Alaskan outfit Portugal. The Man has always excelled at melding multiple styles into a delightfully varied, distinctive, and pleasurable sound. While they've routinely implemented shades of electronic and hip-hop into their alt/indie/psych rock foundation, 2013's Evil Friends saw them team up with producer Danger Mouse for their most transparent blend (and best effort) yet.
There should be a reasonable explanation for the sharp musical turn found on Portugal. The Man's eighth studio album, Woodstock. After the release of the Danger Mouse-produced Evil Friends in 2013, the Portland-based outfit retreated again to the studio with the Beastie Boys' Mike D for three years to worry over the purported follow up Gloomin + Doomin.
Portugal. The Man are a clever lot; the major-label indie rockers are no strangers to well-conceived mischief, whether it's in videos, on-stage antics, or subtly hidden subversions in song lyrics. None of this will come across as blatantly as it does on Woodstock, the band's eighth studio album and first in four years. Woodstock was actually recorded twice; with producer Mike D and a lot of time, they cut enough material for a double album, then chucked it all, starting again with only fragments from the early sessions.
Despite titling their eighth album after an iconic moment in late-1960s counterculture, Portugal. The Man aims squarely at the 21st-century mainstream with Woodstock. With less emphasis on psychedelically tinged guitar rock and an increased focus on simple, accessible dance beats and electronic production, the band's latest album is in keeping with core members John Gourley and Zach Carothers's penchant for exploring different sonic terrain with each new effort, but this is the first time they've fully abandoned their indie roots in favor of pure pop.