Portugal. The Man is a prolific pop-rock band with psychedelic and jammy influences that never threaten to overwhelm the strong songwriting at the center of it all. MWL has covered the group before, but as they gear up for another release – Evil Friends - they’ve begun dropping new singles and videos. ”Atomic Man” is the latest, and by far my favorite.
Narrative: None, except the riveting story of you falling head-over-heels in love with Portugal. The Man.
Performance: The band barely so much as mouths along, and there’s not an instrument to be found. It’s weird video performance art at its most inspired.
Song: Produced by Danger Mouse, it’s no surprise that the beat kicks – but this isn’t hyper-polished dance rock. The bright acoustic strumming and handclaps tease shades of “Hey Ya” for a second, but as soon as the firey, fuzzed out guitar kicks the door in, it’s clear this is a rock song through and through. ”After you/I dunno what I believe in/After you/Hell will be easier” is as rousing as a chorus gets and you’ll probably be singing along well before the crash cymbals knock the walls down. There are hints of OK Go here – maybe it’s in the bass playing? – and I’m really interested to hear how diverse the rest of the album gets.
Why You Should Watch It: Because this is an entire video made out still frames. Technically, all videos are twenty four frames played in succession each second, but these frames appear to have been shot individually and manipulated in post to produce the illusion of motion in some really unexpected ways. It goes far beyond simple “stop-motion”: skin blurs and morphs, eyes roll with liquid laziness, the whole thing is unnatural in the fantastically compelling fashion.