Album Reviews

Portugal! The Man – In The Mountain, In The Cloud (REVIEW)

With a voice the reaches octaves not meant for man, John Gurley has created a familiarized sound that can only be pulled off with the backdrop that the other members of Portugal! The Man can provide. Their new effort, “In The Mountain, In The Cloud” showcases this in a much more defined way. The entire album is a testament to the driving guitar riffs and melodic tones that seem to have defined PTM since their 2006 release “Waiter: You Vultures.”

This is the band’s first major label release and it’s maybe the one reason the band has given themselves a much more tight sound with this effort. Gone are the seemingly endless jam band breaks that have defined earlier releases of the band. However, that which was the main reason a lot of us fell in love with PTM is now a welcomed break with “In The Mountain, In The Cloud.”

Their single “Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now)” is a great testament to this new found tightness. It has mass appeal while at the same time keeps established fans happy with John’s signature angelic voice. Structurally it is complex but is clearly defined with subtle strings accenting the back of the melody.

Producer Casey Bates (INXS, Chiodos, Foxy Shazam) returns to help round out this sound. Bates has produced a couple of albums with PTM including their 2006 debut “Waiter: You Vultures” and “Church Mouth.” New to the Producing duties is John Hill (M.I.A., Santigold, Kings of Leon) which could explain the new tight sound and more appealing structure.

Whatever is going on over there I like it. The new album is a complete package for those who’ve felt a little weird listening to something that, in the past, has been a bit unstable but enjoyable none-the-less. “In The Mountain, In The Cloud” is a perfect balance filled with great songwriting as well as PTM’s signature sound. It’s well produced and well written. We can’t wait to hear what’s next for the Portland based band.

-JC

Rating 9/10

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