Portugal. The ManHaving released a new studio album every year since they first unleashed their experimental blend of neo-psychedelia, prog-pop and art-rock onto the unsuspecting public back in 2006, Portugal. The Man’s prolific streak came to a halt last year following the departures of original keyboardist Ryan Neighbors and drummer Jason Sechrist alongside the band’s decision to scrap an entire record and up sticks to Los Angeles to work with super-producer Danger Mouse instead. The resulting Evil Friends may have been self-described as a concerted effort to embrace the mainstream, but its themes of alienation, disenchantment and despair suggest the Portland quintet still see themselves very much as outsiders. Here’s a look at five of its best lyrics.

Modern Jesus

Portugal. The ManShowcasing their ability to give the darkest of subject matters an almost celebratory feel, the rousing synth-pop of “Modern Jesus” appears pretty harmless at first until you realize that its joyous singalong chorus and initial help of redemption is simply masking the kind of mass cult suicide intentions that gave fellow psych-rockers The Brian Jonestown Massacre their name, with drinks and heaven’s cakes the apparent incentive for anyone willing to swallow a fatal pill: [LISTEN]

Come on in
Take a seat next to me
You know we got
We got what you need
We may be liars 
Preachin’ to choirs
But we can, we can sell your dreams

Purple Yellow Red & Blue

Portugal. The ManThe likes of Paris Hilton and the Kardashians may be easy targets. But while this trippy mix of emphatic hip-hop beats and thumping piano chords, which also features two of the Haim sisters on vocals, might not be the first biting satire of spoiled little rich girls-turned-trashy reality TV stars, it’s one of the most succinct as the song’s lazy protagonist admits that the lure of fame is far more important than anything such as a strong work ethic or empathy for anyone who doesn’t live in their gold-plated bubble: [LISTEN]

When I grow up I wanna be
A rich-kid born celebrity
It’s not greed, but necessity
Now I don’t focus on the hopeless
When I look out it’s only for me


Portugal. The ManThe most vociferous of the record’s many anti-war statements, this sprawling and spacey slice of alt-country sees Gourley take on the persona of a cynical and manipulative politician who, with little trace of a conscience or moral compass, is more concerned about selling false hopes to the public and utilising the military budget than the “waves at the bottom of the ocean” who the government are sending out to fight their needless battles: [LISTEN]

All we’re needing is a reason
It don’t need to be clear
Singing songs to the news
It can play to their fears
Someone’s gotta’ die and you don’t have to love him
But the military’s still got more in its budget, oh

Creep In A T-Shirt

Portugal. The ManTaking the same nature vs. nurture side of the argument as Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” whilst also occupying a similar self-proclaimed loser territory as one of Danger Mouse’s previous cohorts, Beck, this wonky piano-pop slacker anthem sees Gourley ignore any attempts to wake him from his perpetual slumber by claiming that as he has always been a “creep in a t-shirt,” he might as well embrace this anti-social personality trait rather than try to fix it: [LISTEN]

I’m sorry Mr. Policeman
If I wanted to talk I would’ve called a friend
Don’t worry when I get back home
I’ll just stay in bed, I’m better off alone

Evil Friends

Portugal. The Man

This schizophrenic blend of dream-pop and scuzzy garage-rock perhaps explains the lack of genuine friendship that the album spends much of its running time bemoaning. Launching into an egotistical rant which suggests he suffers from one almighty superiority complex, Gourley then informs the poor soul who has had the misfortune to cross his path that he would rather become allies with the devil than spend one more minute in their company: [LISTEN]

It’s not because the light here is brighter

And it’s not that I’m evil

I just don’t like to pretend

That I could ever be your friend