Portugal. The Man - It's Complicated Being a Wizard EP
Record Label: Reincarnate
Release Date: February 27, 2007
Portugal. The Man has got a pretty unique style, and never is this more evident than on their excellent EP It’s Complicated Being a Wizard where they drop most of their alternative punk logic and focus specifically on rhythm and vocals. Because it’s such an ambitious release, it makes sense why they would have tried it out on an EP rather than making an album like this. But, honestly, I’d be disappointed if they didn’t at some point work this type of music into their full-lengths, because this might be the best they’ve ever sounded.
It’s pretty annoying how the album is sequenced, though. The first track is the full 23-minute EP, and then tracks 2-10 are the exact same thing but split up into individual pieces. In theory that’s a cool concept to be able to choose either the epic 2112 version or the more ADD-compatible split up version (one track is 50 seconds long) – but in actuality why do you need to have the same EP on a disc twice? If you want to listen to the EP all the way through then listen to it all the way through. It doesn’t need to be one track for you to do that – I listen to plenty of albums all the way through just because that’s how they work best. If the logic was that a single track version would stop downloaders from catching some of the release out of context, then why make the split up version too? There’s no logic to it.
So obviously I was pretty disappointed when I figured out that the playback was 23 minutes instead of 46. Well, first I thought that the album was just really repetitive – was I having déjà vu? Then I thought that 46 minutes was pretty long for an EP. Then, a lightbulb went on over my head.
But I won’t mark off the disc for its strange playback – especially since it’s such a captivating release. It’s got the broken up computer drum programming of Radiohead’s Kid A but with the high-ish melodic vocals of The Mars Volta. “Sapphire Magic” is the best example of these two influences coming together. It sounds like “The Widdow” if that song were written about robots – not that anybody really knows what the Mars Volta is ever really writing about.
The beats are totally awesome, too. They start and stop so jaggedly you can hardly follow them, and then the fact that “Amethyst Magic” sounds like there’s a really really rhythmic bong being toked is pretty interesting as well. The music is almost danceable but there’s something so creepy about it that its best use would probably be the soundtrack to staring off into space and wondering how some musicians get their inspiration. Really creative, really mysterious, and really worth your 23-46 minutes of listening.
Recommended If You Like:
Radiohead’s Kid A, The Mars Volta’s “The Widdow”, Portugal. The Man’s Waiter: You Vultures with way more balls.
I think the point of the title "It's Complicated Being A Wizard" had to do with the fact that the band was trying to work 'magic' with the tracks
They were able to take a song, that you could listen to the whole way through and then takes parts of that song and make them pieces within themselves... It was a concept that may not have worked for you, but I love listening to the 23 minute title track, then listening to the same track again... but not :)