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Intersection of Life and Faith

I Am the Portuguese Blues

  • reviewed by Andy Argyrakis Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 2 Feb
  • COMMENTS
I Am the Portuguese Blues
Sounds like … think of Ryan Adams' new Rock 'n' Roll disc crossed with several classic rock pioneers from the 1970sAt a glance … the perennial indie rock heroes steer away from atmospheric surf pop for their most ambitious and electric effortTrack ListingWake Up EarlyUnluckyTeens in LoveThe Big IdeaWorth of Labor"Not Found"Sound on SoundDestiny"No Revolution"I Need Some Help

They've led the Tooth and Nail Records' roster for ten years and have consistently reigned atop of the indie rock ranks, but most importantly, Starflyer 59 has established a reputation for artistry and creativity. The band's surf pop undertones amidst ethereal arrangements were again the focus of 2003's Old, a project that confirmed age has only made the band wiser. On the brand new I Am the Portuguese Blues, members up that ante once again, steering away from experimentalism in favor of good old guitar driven rock and roll. Though this may seem somewhat shocking to fans of Starflyer's dreamy mood music, the change is refreshing and entertaining across ten aggressive romps.

"Wake Up Early" possesses enough guitar- and drum-derived fire to get even the deepest sleeper out of bed, backed by front man Jason Martin's ominous vocal groans. While some of Old hailed to the Pink Floyd-inspired psychedelia of the '70s, new cuts like "Teens In Love" and "Worth of Labor" lean more toward retro Rolling Stones. The all instrumental "Sound on Sound" and word-filled "I Need Some Help" are two of the disc's most explosive tracks, melding the assaulting guitars of Jimmy Page in his heyday with the contemporary tones of The Black Crowes. Such progression beyond its past leaves Starflyer with a near perfect album, but at only 27 minutes, it also leaves listeners begging for more.