Portugal. The Man

American Ghetto

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Prolific and ever evolving, American Ghetto finds Portugal. The Man pushing into increasingly electronic territory. On this album, the band reunited with The Satanic Satanist producer (and former Cornershop sideman) Anthony Saffery, whose synth work and drum programming helped shape the album into a more producer-centric recording than the band's previous work. More so than on their last outing, it feels like Portugal are using the studio as an instrument, experimenting with different techniques to make the songs exist in a more textural and open sonic space. The result is a sound that combines The Satanic Satanist's mellowness with the experimental excursions of their It’s Complicated Being a Wizard EP. This especially comes through in the drums, where the beats feel more processed and chopped up, creating an interesting aural floor for the tracks to unfold over. This more produced sound results in songs that fall somewhere between playful pop jams and soundscapes, with tracks like “60 Years” and “The Dead Dog" showing the band's ability to use the more straight-ahead drum and guitar work to keep the songs from drifting into the swirling sea of synthesizers and layered vocal harmonies. For constant musical tinkerers like Portugal. The Man, it’s unknown whether this is a stop on some more free-form journey or a destination itself, but what’s clear is that this dreamier sound is one that works for them.

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