It’s crazy to think that Portugal. The Man has already been in the game for 7 LPs. With a full album every year since 2006 (and two in 2009), they are back in full effect with their latest album, In the Mountain, In the Cloud.
For you readers who know me personally, you know that I carry a high respect for these gentlemen, and have been a big supporter for years; and I think now, more than ever, you’ll see why. With their first album on a ‘major’ label, they haven’t lost what has made them so fun\interesting to listen to. Portugal. The Man is just….different. That’s the only way I can put it.
Defined as psychedelic rock, I believe that holds true to an extent, but lyrics by front man John Gourley call for more definition. This album brings about subject matter of his life as a boy growing up in Alaska; wild frozen plains his backyard. You feel heavy influences of a father’s word, and of the open air lessons that are unique to his story. Big shout out to John Hill, and the return of mighty Casey Bates on that production.
This album seems more cohesive than anything else in the bands catalogue, with the ‘echohouse’ (I’ll coin that if no one else has) choruses and instrumentals that make you sway to and fro. Zach Carothers again makes it look easy for us, and sings more often on the choruses than other albums.
Ryan Neighbors is still keeping the ladies in love with his vocals and wide keyboard arrays\ percussion layout, with several layers of sound through every track. The live translation will be something to play close attention to, with the ante of his already triple duty being pushed further.
Drummer Jason Sechrist remains a pillar to the entire element, holding it down throughout the album. Jason has always shined during the live shows in his pit of destruction, rapid fire percussion at its finest. Listening to him on the free live show downloads has been a musical highlight of this year.
But what about my favorites on the album? Of course I have my three.
With an intro that sounds like something Bowie would write, Once Was One is the 9th track, and my first favorite. The echoes and complicated bass line in the chorus was very welcome, with the acoustic guitar before the monster of a chorus put this song on top of the list. I tried to decipher the lyrics to no avail, but the chorus just sounds damn awesome.
Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now) feels like the tale of young adventures, feeling invincible when we go out to play, but having to come back to reality and learn from our teachers. My take: our teachers teach, but it may not always be a reflection of our personality. Our true selves show when we are learning of our own accord. Both sides combined, we’re got it all. Musically, the strings bring this song to an even greater echelon.
I’ve already heard a few people say that track 8, All Your Light (Times Like These) is the best song on the album, and I can’t agree more. That steady haunting beat intro and Gourley dropping that first line ‘I’m just a shadow of a bigger man\growing brighter with each year I am’ just set the damn mood. Both lyrically and musically, this is one of the most heavyweight songs by P.TM in a long time. I challenge you not to sing with the rest of the band in unison. Add this song to the soundtrack of my life playlist. With that jam session two thirds of the way through, this will make an interesting section in the live show.
This album is great from start to a hell of a finish, and for you true fans in Los Angeles, P.TM is playing an album release show at the El Cid on July 19th, the day the album drops. Check out the details at their website, and preorder your copy! Also, the album is streaming over at Paste Magazine, so rock out in the office ya’ll.
Until next time my friends,