On I Am the Portuguese Blues Starflyer 59 take a step back from the majestic shoegaze meets soft rock albums they have been crafting (Leave Here a Stranger and Old) and retreat to the noisy, almost grunge sound they exhibited on their early albums. The record is short, the songs not very melodic, and the vocals direct and upfront in the mix. In fact, it almost sounds like an album of outtakes from Gold or Americana. If you can get past the disappointment of the record being a step back from greatness, however, it isn't too bad. Songs like "Wake Up Early" and "Teens in Love" are catchy in a rocky way, "Unlucky" struts glamily, "Destiny" has some nice shoegazey guitars buried beneath the grunge, and "Sound on Sound" rocks like a Mountain song. Jason Martin's vocals alternate between a Jim Reid sneer and a Kurt Cobain whine. In fact the album has the feel of a lesser Jesus and Mary Chain record, like Automatic perhaps. Very simple chords, rudimentary arrangements, a mix of catchy and clichéd melodies, and a sense of weariness. Overall, the feeling one gets when listening to the record is loss: loss of potential, loss of direction, possibly the loss of a really good band. Hopefully this is just a misguided (and brief) dip in the road for Starflyer 59.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra