“I think the point is, we started this band to have fun on our own terms and if we can troll our friends on our album covers, that’s great too.”
That’s Evan Brock of Portuguese Bend talking about EP Casual Matty. Named after a friend of theirs, the album cover features the eponymous hero sat in a lawn chair in a kid’s paddling pool. It sets the tone for the album well; its melodic indie punk the chilled sound of a band “on a mission to have fun and not take things too seriously”.
Not that Portuguese Bend are musicians to dismiss lightly. Members Pat, Kris and Gabe all play with other bands and Evan is a prolific songwriter: “I write a lot of songs that I know won’t work for Portuguese Bend, so I’ll release those in some form at some point.” It was actually writer’s block that led to the formation of the band, as Evan needed a new outlet to help him “not to over-bake ideas”. Taking his lead from Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices, he changed the way he wrote music, “sometimes only writing one verse and one chorus, sometimes using a more standard song structure”, helping to rekindle his creativity.
It seems to have worked, as creativity is no longer in short supply. Evan is also a designer, a day job that grew out of designing flyers, and Gabe and former bassist Bill have also found the time to start the label Slow Fires. Although they’re currently working on their first full-length album, the idea behind the band stays the same: “Portuguese Bend is about hanging out and playing music and meeting people that are doing the same thing in the same headspace. We want to keep writing and recording music and playing shows, at whatever capacity life allows.”
This could make 2016 a busy year for Evan and Portuguese Bend but, when asked about his hopes and resolutions, he had an answer to which I’m sure we can all relate: “I guess I’m always trying to be a better human and figuring out new and creative ways to troll the people I care about most.” Amen to that.
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