Portugal the Man

Evil Friends (Atlantic)

ACL Music Fest 2013 Saturday Reviews

Portugal the Man

Evil Friends (Atlantic)

For their last few years of ubiquity, Portugal the Man still managed to sneak up on me. The Portland, Ore., quintet built a reputation in the most organic of ways, releasing a lot of music over a long period of time. Never breathlessly reviewed, and only recently owning any commercial relevance, it's been far too easy to write them off as a bunch of croaky potheads thriving in Edward Sharpe's playing field. That would probably continue if eighth album Evil Friends wasn't so defiantly solid. It's using the sodden, wilted, stadium-folk form, but dig deeper and "Modern Jesus" will shake your bones. Lifted hands? That's the delectable campfire float "Sea of Air." And would you ever turn off "Holy Roller"? Sure, they're not very hip, but Portugal the Man are anything but slouches, and Evil Friends is proof that some bands get big for being good, nothing else. (4pm, AMD stage)

****

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