Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Album Review: Portugal. The Man - In the Mountain in the Cloud

Portugal. The Man was formed in 2004, Wasilla, Alaska from the ashes of defunct band Anatomy of a Ghost and then relocated to Portland, Oregon.

In the Mountain in the Cloud, their sixth album and in as many years as a recording band, sees them fully embrace the romanticism of 70's radio-friendly pop-rock.

Cue the opening chimes and acoustic strums, the melodicism and lyricism instantly recalls the best years of Elton John / Bernie Taupin partnership...

In fact, throw into that same blender Supertramp, Electric Light Orchestra, David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Bee Gees, Santana, Scissor Sisters circa 2006's Tah-Dah and MGMT circa 2008's Oracular Spectacular.

It's a formula destined for disaster in less adroit hands.

But John Gourley (lead vocals, guitar), Zachary Carothers (bass guitar, backing vocals), Ryan Neighbors (keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals) and Jason Sechrist (drums) have collectively pulled in the big guns to help realise their vision this time around.

Enlisting Santogold’s John Hill as the producer-of-choice and masterfully mixed by Andy Wallace (Grammy award winner behind Nirvana’s Nevermind and Jeff Buckley’s Grace), this has ambition writ large all over it but successfully sidesteps selling out their indie cred whilst debuting on major label Atlantic Records.

The story-driven songs are chorus and anthem heavy, suggesting lighters aloft sing-alongs at concerts.
The electric Bolan boogie-stomp swaggers perfectly on Got It All, Head Is a Flame channels MGMT, horn and synth embellishments on Everything You See feels as though filtered through psychedelic prisms and the panoramic Sleep Forever informs their Beatles' influence.

Before you know it, it's time for another spin.

Simply Brilliant.  8.9/10

Portugal. The Man - In The Mountain In The Cloud by ATL REC

Paste Magazine Interview

This arthouse videoclip spans 13 minutes and contains a shocking element not for the faint of heart.
It starts with Sleep Forever, ends with Got It All.  Bravo.

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