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Portugal. The Man - In the Mountain, In the Cloud Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals N/A
Musicianship N/A
Lyrics N/A
Production 0.25
Creativity 0.25
Lasting Value 0.25
Reviewer Tilt 0.25
Final Verdict: 3%
Member Ratings
Production 8.98
Creativity 8.86
Lasting Value 9.13
Reviewer Tilt 9.25
Average: 91%
Inside AP.net

Portugal. The Man - In the Mountain, In the Cloud

Reviewed by: Adam Pfleider (07/21/11)
Portugal. The Man - In the Mountain, In the Cloud
Record Label: Atlantic Records
Release Date: July 19, 2011

It's never a question of how anticipated Portugal. The Man's next album will be for me (answer: very), but it's what direction the band will take the flow in once they hit the studio. When I first laid ears on John Gourley's project after Anatomy of a Ghost, it was something fresh and new to my personal catalog. Waiter: "You Vultures!" didn't take me by surprise, it made me believe in good music again. After Church Mouth's stripped down licks and Censored Colors' ebb and flow of blending soft timbre and bright releases, then came The Satanic Satanist with a more formidable direction for the band. It sits as Portugal. The Man's most successful album to date, and put the band on festival main stages, sold out runs and bigger audiences on a month to month. The band I slowly began to see blossom had finally hit its mark on the masses and it's been a beautiful feeling to know that people are finally getting it.

With the band's sixth album, we now see just how big they can put the "larger than life" idea of Portugal. The Man into play. As I predicted it to be the most Bowie-esque venture to date for the band, it takes American Ghetto's best feature of slipping smaller nuances in the layers throughout the album's mix. With In The Mountain in the Cloud, the "Bob Ross' tree that only he and you know about" intricacy is made tenfold as little to no space is left between the quilted fabrics of the album's mix. "So American" is a prime example. Like every Portugal. The Man opener, it sets the tone and direction of the rest of the record. This time around it's the added string section, what sounds like a steel drum and minor hand claps - that's just a few things from the first track. What stands out the most is Gourley's voice. We know what he can do with shortage of studio time and little to no expense, but the biggest payoff on the major label budget is the lush vocals. Ryan Neighbors and Zach Carothers add great back-up pipes as usual, but all the voices blend in perfect stereo this time around.

With all that said, longtime Portugal. The Man fans will surely ride a line with this one. In the Mountain in the Cloud will lack return upon initial listens and may rank lower on the list of records for some fans. After a few weeks with the album, it's still really great comparable to, well, most other radio pop that generally passes today. In fact, the band's attempts of combining '50s-'60s golden singles era, '70s soul and the '80s larger than life glam rock comes off its best with this release. More than that, longtime fans will also note the first inclusion of the band's live "jams" creeping into some of the tracks on the album ("Got It All [This Can't Be Living Now]" / "All Your Light {Times Like These]"). But no matter how formidable the band will get for some, they are simply amazing songwriters through and through. It's not just lyrical aspirations either, but it's about how they still have the ability to build songs one piece at a time. Some songwriters sketch, but Portugal. The Man continue to cover the blank space on their canvas with more and more colors, and maybe for some of us looking for the details, we should just sit back and enjoy the piece as a whole instead of its cherished pointillism ("Senseless" / "Once Was One" / "Floating [Time Isn't Working My Side]").

It's the final piece ("Sleep Forever") that will soften any personal negatives about the record. I remember taking a few months to let Satanic Satanist sink in, but after blaring "Mornings" twenty times in a solid 24 hours upon my first listen, feelings changed. This time around was no different, and "Sleep Forever" sits around the top of my favorite tracks in the band's catalog. It's the way the song (read: chapter) is built up and the intricate detail is slowly inserted in the mix one by one. "Stables and Chairs" was the first song I ever heard from the band and still sits above the rest for nostalgic reasons, but comparable to how far the band has pushed themselves as songwriters today should be the bigger picture we all need to look at.

There's always going to be a person who says "Remember when (insert genre here) was good back in the day?" Portugal. The Man got big on hard work and dedication. I think they're doing something even more noticeable: they're showing a new generation a bridge into the hailed past of rock and pop fusion. Portugal. The Man have crafted another album. It's something that you sit down with and don't chop up on a playlist. Albums are rare commodities today. Like any piece of art and literature, there are some parts you're not going to love and some parts that will end up adhering to your subconscious. Give it some time for the next feature by easily one of the best bands to be added to your online music subscription and cloud services. Seriously, how many bands in your iTunes have back catalogs as large, vast in sound and direction and close to perfecting a greatest hits by now like Portugal. The Man has done in the last six years?

Very few.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 87
12:53 AM on 07/21/11
#2
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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I'm not into this band, but holy shit do they write a lot of music. I took the liberty of editing your second-to-last sentence so it makes sense with the last sentence. Blame the editor in me.
01:01 AM on 07/21/11
#3
Adam Pfleider
wait. what were we talking about?
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I'm not into this band, but holy shit do they write a lot of music. I took the liberty of editing your second-to-last sentence so it makes sense with the last sentence. Blame the editor in me.
Thanks baby. Yeah, this may be my least favorite album, containing one of my favorite songs and it still sits as one of the best albums I've heard this year.

Also, we should get those ratings buttons fixed. Now kids will be forced to read this stuff.
01:03 AM on 07/21/11
#4
weworemasks
save the drama for wilmer valderama
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just write your score at the bottom, playboi!
01:05 AM on 07/21/11
#5
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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just write your score at the bottom, playboi!
WHY DOES IT EVEN MATTER DOE
01:06 AM on 07/21/11
#6
Adam Pfleider
wait. what were we talking about?
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WHY DOES IT EVEN MATTER DOE
now you and Roshan play nice!

Roshan let me know if you're coming for ACL.
01:28 AM on 07/21/11
#7
pnkhrdwndr
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I definitely enjoy Portugal. The Man. I will have to listen to this more. The review is very solid about describing this release.
02:11 AM on 07/21/11
#8
weworemasks
save the drama for wilmer valderama
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now you and Roshan play nice!

Roshan let me know if you're coming for ACL.
just day 1. gotta see yeezy, man.
02:47 AM on 07/21/11
#9
_><_
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Sleep Forever is one of the best songs ever.
04:40 AM on 07/21/11
TwelveTribes230
<>
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I really liked this album.
05:08 AM on 07/21/11
Portugal4142
@BrandonMir
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First Portugal CD I couldn't get into.. Really disappointed in that.. I like their more "groovy" side, but with each release I'm just missing their church mouth sound more and more.

My advice to them, a litttttle less pot and littttttle more Jack Daniels
05:14 AM on 07/21/11
Chemical Love
-
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I really enjoy this band. Waiter: You Vultures! is still great.
05:38 AM on 07/21/11
Sunken In
All I think about is floating away
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Saw these guys live a few months before the release and they played a bunch of new stuff. It was all great. I'll pick this one up for sure.
06:00 AM on 07/21/11
NateGolubiewski
So it goes.
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Just gets better with every listen.
06:21 AM on 07/21/11
jdr277
I got a lion in my pocket I'm lying
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I thought this album was a disappointment upon first listen but after I spun it a few times I've had each song stuck in my head so many times I've grown to love this album. I didn't get into this band until Satanic Satanist and IMO they weren't very good before that album so maybe that's why I like this album more than others. Right now this album sits #2 among their albums for me right above American Ghetto. Anyone who said they didn't like this at first please give it some more listens before you you write it off cause this album is brilliant.
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