For a group that is led by a man who hails in the isolated regions of Alaska, Portugal. The Man is nothing like what would be suggested. They’re work is akin to early morning summers, classic psychedelic moments and jam sessions that we all want to hear at festivals during the hot summer months. In The Mountain In The Cloud deceptively strong, but the album lacks a certain durability. Surely, it can be argued that the band’s latest is their strongest to date, but throughout the journey John Baldwin Gourley is completely lucid in the simplest way possible. The experimental progression of the band isn’t here; instead, they aptly flow through the comforts of the norm, albeit without much impact in almost every session. The culpability must be placed on the Gourley’s shoulders because In The Mountain In The Cloud never really takes off and his approach does get cyclic, even if it elicits 70’s psychedelic more so than modern indie connotations.
Playing it safe isn’t something usually smiled upon with music, but Portgual. The Man manage to do so here, though their creative moment peak within the closer “Sleep Forever,” the album never takes off to astronomical heights. The opener “So American,” Gourley sings “who broke the rules, who broke the rules,” but it stands that not much ground will be broken here. In The Mountain In The Cloud is far from a unenthusiastic experience, it is the perfect interpretation of the summer lull we all know during the long days – free, clammy and joyful. When Portugal. The Man delve out of the same patterns of the song and brush toward freely inspired expression leaning toward experimentation it ups the stakes, but those moments are unfortunately brief. The group relies heavily on string arrangements with Gourley’s propensity to belt out consistent singing throughout. The more experimentation with the music, the better it would seem. So it should go for Portugal. The Man as their best are marked with such: “Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now),” “Senseless,” “Everything You See (Kid Count Hallelujuahs),” and “Sleep Forever” all mix up various forms of classical instrumentation of piano, organ and violin and the group move parallel with the strengths, ramping up the dramatics with Gourley what sometimes feels like an impartial sentiment with some of these tracks.
In The Mountain In The Cloud never really mixes up the instrumental approach for Portugal. The Man, a clear indication this their most relaxed album, but it does come at a price as much of it comes and goes without a spark. The birth of free expression is usually only in its infancy when it is cut out, but it is a necessary evil on In The Mountain In The Cloud because without it the album is exceptionally cohesive. Portugal. The Man fans won’t bother with such statements because after all, this is what they’ve been waiting for – a methodical unyielding album that doesn’t break into obscurity. It can’t be helped though when the album finishes there is still a lacking, a void within the music that yearns for more lively guitar that have powered past psychedelic acts.
2. Floating (Time Isn't Working My Side)
3. Got It All (This Can't Be Living)
5. Head Is A Flame (Cool With It)
6. You Carried Us (Share With Me The Sun)
7. Everything You See (Kids Count Hallelujahs)
8. All Your Light (Times Like These)
9. Once Was One
10. Share With Me The Sun
11. Sleep Forever
Portugal. The Man is an experimental indie rock four-piece centered on frontman John Baldwin Gourley's abstract musical approach and corresponding upbringing. He was raised in a sort of technological isolation: his log cabin home in the winter wasteland of the fringes of Wasilla, Alaska was powered by a generator and had no telephone. Both of his parents helped completely immerse him in the unique lifestyle that comes with a land of seasonal darkness and perpetual cold with their jobs as dog sled mushers. ... read more