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I AM THE PORTUGUESE BLUES (2004)
I Am The Portuguese Blues - Click to view!There is a time to rock and roll. A time when all that matters is how much sweat and blood you can pour into your music and out of your amplifiers. Sweat and blood that is forcibly delivered and joyfully received. And all that force and joy meshes together and creates an electrical experience that is synonymous with fast cars, sunny days, and open windows.

I Am the Portuguese Blues meets all these standards, providing both old- and new-school Starflyer 59 fans with an album of summertime rock and roll. There are no fancy progressions or artsy guitar riffs to be found on this album; instead, Jason Martin and Co. use energy and old-fashioned rock spirit to draw listeners into the music. Each song mixes Brit-rock sensibilities with blues solo riffs, resulting in combinations as uniquely infectious as the album title. Providing a solid foundation for these combinations are bassist Jeff Cloud and drummer Frank Lenz, who both wield their instruments superbly, though their talents are often hidden behind the wall of Martin's guitar.

As a general rule Martin's lyrics are secondary to his music, and this album is no exception. Revolving primarily around teenagers and their trials (love, heartbreak, and the future), most of these songs are not intended to say something profound or provoke great thought. They simply make a statement and rely on rhythm to carry the hook, a method that works well with the energetic backdrop of forcible guitar, drums, and bass. A fine example is "Wake Up Early," the pulsing disc opener whose lyrics don't stray far from the song title. Yet, you'll still find yourself humming along, thanks to some powerful guitar riffs that will keep your head bobbing and toes tapping.

Starflyer 59 has been one of Tooth & Nail's most reliable bands, consistently producing records that receive both critical acclaim and the love of a diehard fanbase. I Am the Portuguese Blues is no exception, and while its hard-hitting style may prove to be but a breather from their recent line of lush pop/rock records, it is a most welcome addition to SF59's illustrious catalog.
- Jason Ewert
April 2004
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