REVIEW: Portugal. The Man – In The Mountain, In The Cloud

portugal the man cover

Artist: Portugal. The Man
Album: In The Mountain, In The Cloud2

I love finding bands that just have an indescribable talent. I can tell immediately that they’re good on a plane that most bands cant touch, to the point where I’m not quite sure how they’ve managed to write songs the way they do. Bands like Brand New, or on the other end of the spectrum, Converge. There are no bands out there that can write songs quite like they can, and yet, they’re at the top of their genre; completely untouchable. They can write songs that are so deep and dynamic, and yet, the key parts are so simple that I can’t help but ask myself why I didn’t think of it. Of course, it’s obvious why I didn’t think of it, but that’s not the point. I’ve always admired bands like that in a huge way. Let’s face it, anyone can start a band, and most people can be talented musicians with enough practice, but not everyone can make a band that has such a high level of not just talent, but song writing ability as well. Portugal. The Man is another one of those bands, their song writing is creative and interesting on a level that most bands could never reach, especially considering the rapid succession in which they release all their albums. I first heard about them through their single “AKA M80 The Wolf” which was every hipster’s jam for quite awhile a few years ago, but I didn’t really get into them until they released Censored Colors in 2008, which really set a great example for the band, it was such an interesting and complete album, it was on constant rotation on my iPod for a very long time, and I still listen to it one a fairly regular basis. All their albums since then were also fantastic, but in my mind they lacked the feelings of initial discovery that I felt from Censored Colors, it doesn’t mean they weren’t good, it was just a personal connection that I can’t really ignore. It’s very rare for a band to release such consistently impressive albums, especially albums as lengthy and elaborate as Portugal. The Man. Which of course, meant I was hugely excited for In The Mountain, In The Cloud I figured there was really no way it could be anything less than fantastic.

Naturally, I was right. To the point where I actually think it helped dissolve my obsession with Censored Colors, at least enough for me to give In The Mountain, In The Cloud the fair chance it deserves. The album itself feels more like one grand product as opposed to a compilation of songs, to the point where picking a standout track is fairly pointless, it’s not about the individual tracks, it’s about the album itself. But of course, I had to pick a few songs that I kept coming back to more than the others, and in that sense, “All Your Light” would certainly be a standout track in my eyes, and “Got It All” and the opener “So American” were also quite fantastic as well, all of which have the signature psychedelic-indie Portugal. The Man sound, and bringing some very well defined high points to an already remarkable album.

In all honestly, none of this surprises me, Portugal. The Man is one of those bands that seems to be highly regarded by just about everybody, even if someone admittedly doesn’t listen to them, or know very much about them, they still acknowledge the fact that they’re a fantastic band. So no surprise that they managed to deliver another fantastic album that I see myself listening to for quite awhile. Strictly speaking, Portugal. The Man isn’t my style, I shouldn’t really be in to them; a little too hippie-ish psychedelic rock for my taste, but as I said before, there is an undeniable talent found in this band that I just can’t help but be captivated by, and In The Mountain, In The Cloud is just another excellent example of the fantastic music that Portugal. The Man are capable of.

SCORE: 9/10
Review written by: Michael Hogan

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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