Portugal. The Man | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Portugal. The Man

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Nothing about Portugal. The Man's Waiter: "You Vultures!" (Fearless) makes much sense to me. I'm still trying to figure out how they can execute the most terrible-sounding ideas--like switching, in the course of a single song, between textural psychedelia, skritchy art-punk, and Timbaland-style sequencing--without coming off like pretentious assholes. Or how they've managed to bomb with indie kids, who are pretty friendly with daring art-rock, and score instead with emo kids, who listen to one of the most strictly by-the-book styles around. Portugal. The Man not only steers clear of emo's broad hooks and bombastic quiet-loud-quiet structures but completely avoids what's probably the genre's defining feature--male self-obsession that doesn't just approach misogyny but often barges straight in and sets up a merch table. Waiter is in fact one of the least masculine-sounding albums I've ever heard by an all-male band. Aside from the nods to hip-hop--especially "Horse Warming Party," which sounds like a David Banner song interpreted by a bunch of skinny white dudes--the disc mostly recalls those late-90s Blonde Redhead and Helium records that proved how big quiet sounds could be, and how they could turn into songs that were both epic and elegant. The Fall of Troy headlines; Dameira, Tera Melos, and Airus open. a 5 PM, Champs Rock Room, 6501 W. 79th, Burbank, 708-233-0181, $12, $10 in advance. A

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