FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2011 |
Posted by: Joe Puglisi
Portugal. The Man have alleviated the fears of fans attached to their psych-folk with In The Mountain In The Clouds, their Atlantic Record debut. It's an exquisite composite of their former tastes mixed with a polished, professional take on moving forward with their distinct straddling of the fine line between experimental alternatives like My Morning Jacket and more contemporary indies-turned-major attempting to keep their perceived cool. It's no longer a perception—PTM have assembled a collection that functions on a higher level than any of their previous work, and works without needing a knowledge of anything that came before it, all the while encouraging a backwards exploration for new fans, and a revisiting for old ones.
The record is chock full of fun and chant-able moments, with big choruses and well-produced moments that resonate and attract the ear. From the quiet coalescence of "So American" to the foot-stomping "Once Was One", the band never loses sight of its goals. As far as big hooks and indie jams go, Portugal. The Man has enough to keep any toe tapping. But most of the album is twinged with the tambourine/reverberated high-pitched vocals that are well established staples of the "indie rock" sound, and at times it feels just a little too safe for a band that could be breaking new ground instead of standing on the one they've already built. Regardless, it's a fun listen, and a welcome addition to the pantheon of summer rock records.