Words by Alex Napoliello
A lot of pressure rests on the shoulders of Portugal.The Man. Their sixth studio LP, In The Mountain, In The Cloud, is the first on a major record label and Atlantic Records is no slouch. Up until now, the Alaskan-bred quartet have mostly done everything themselves, meaning there haven’t been any suites breathing down their necks. Despite their new “major label” status, Portugal’s latest endeavor feels true and honest and doesn’t stray from the sound that got them to this point.
In The Mountain starts strong with the catchy “So American,” a seamless continuation of the pop heavy American Ghetto (2010). The lyrics, however, stretch farther back than the previous album. Die-hard Portugal fans will find familiarity in the religious scrutiny, as Frontman John Gourley sings, “You are the one they call Jesus Christ/ We didn’t know no rock and roll/ There may not be a heaven, or a place in which to send you/ But you know in the end/There’s a madness in us all.”
“Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now)” is an instant Portugal classic that is on par with “People Say” and “Church Mouth.” On “Senseless,” Gourley rips a mean guitar solo behind his melodic vocals. “You Carried Us (Share With Me the Sun)” is a high-pitched lullaby, while “All Your Light (Times Like These)” is beat-heavy and features a more experimental side of the band. In The Mountain ends on a high-note with the epic, six-minute “Sleep Forever,” an ode to the band’s upbringing.
Portugal.The Man are indie rock veterans without the notoriety and embody the true meaning of the genre — pure D.I.Y hustle. That hustle has paid off. In The Mountain, In The Cloud is a home run and now that Portugal is on Atlantic, the world will finally hear it.
“In The Mountain, In The Cloud”
© July 19, 2011
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