I Am the Portuguese Blues (Tooth & Nail)
by Tim Den
Can it be true? Has it actually happened? Have Starflyer 59 finally broken their streak of greatness? It would seems so, as I Am the Portuguese Blues is only a mediocre exercise in stiff rock ‘n’ roll, a style the band had returned to successfully with on their last full-length, Old. What went wrong? Perhaps the songs – most of them penned between ’97’s Sabbathian pop of Americana and ’98’s New Order-esque The Fashion Focus – just don’t live up to the current Jason Martin standards? Or because the band poured all the creative juices into their next release (featuring all new songs, scheduled for release later this year) and forgot to try with I Am the Portuguese Blues? Whatever the case, these barely-three-minute ditties – loaded with ham-fisted power chords and squealing solos – don’t stick with you like most Starflyer 59 tunes. They feel interchangeable, like any of the songs could switch verses/choruses and no one would notice. The riffs are monotonous and chug along like they could care less, only offering sparks once in a blue moon (“The Big Idea,” the chorus of “Not Funny”). Repeated listens help warm you up to the record, but not enough to love it passionately like Everybody Makes Mistakes or Leave Here a Stranger.
Let’s hope that this was just a fluke, that everything will be back to normal when that second-album-of-2004 hits.