Wednesday 16 Apr

Odyssey of the mind

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey 

with Culture Cinematic and ADDverse Effects

9 p.m. Friday

Twisted Root Gallery

3012 N. Walker Ave.



04/16/2014 | Comments 0

Saddle up

Horse Thief with Deerpeople and Pageantry

8:30 p.m. Friday

ACM@UCO Performance Lab

329 E. Sheridan Ave.



04/16/2014 | Comments 0

High heaven

Glow God with Weed, Feral Future and Power Pyramid

7 p.m. Friday

Capitol House


04/09/2014 | Comments 0

Darkened tones

Chevelle with Nothing More and Middle Class Rut

6:30 p.m. Monday

Diamond Ballroom

8001 S. Eastern Ave.



04/09/2014 | Comments 0

Sporting goods

Bad Sports with Lotta Tuff, Community Pools and Trash Pops

10 p.m. Friday

VZD’s Restaurant & Club

4200 N. Western Ave.



04/09/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · CDs · Indie · Portugal. The Man — In the...

Portugal. The Man — In the Mountain in the Cloud

Belongs ‘in the’ trash.

Matt Carney October 5th, 2011

Billed as a psychedelic indie-rock band, I think Portugal. The Man is kind of neither.


In The Mountain In The Cloud” doesn’t sound much like a band treading new sonic ground, or even experimenting with the recontextualizing of others before them, but more on that later. Also, they ditched the small label, Equal Vision Records, for Atlantic Records in April of last year. I wonder if producer John Hill’s (who has a handful of Shakira, Theophilus London and Christina Aguilera tracks to his credit) assistance with the record was the band’s choice or Warner Bros’.

Neither is the band particularly psychedelic. There isn’t anything especially alluring or freaky about this, their sixth studio album, which is aggravatingly simple and watered-down for an act that’s previously aimed at lofty conceptual goals in its style. It’s the opposite of damaged psych (Ariel Pink, for instance), but also fails in the way of more lyrically challenging sub-genres, like psych-folk (Jackie O Motherfucker) and the orchestral rich pastoral (Fleet Foxes). Heck, they don’t even really jam on this record, which, as I discovered back in the spring, is something they’re pretty good at.    

Such incongruence with established sounds, concepts and styles is only rarely an indicator of originality, and “In the Mountain in the Cloud” just isn’t one of those albums. My largest complaint about the record is that the band too often sounds like imitators, not innovators, and of My Morning Jacket at that (see the chorus of “Wordless Chorus” if you’re not in on this little joke). Where MMJ are burlier, more straightforward-rocking and write compelling lyrics, P.TM plays about too much with poorly recorded orchestral stuff. Traditional string arrangements are scattered about this record like dead flowers. I should also add that Jim James’ falsetto, while certainly not authoritative, kicks P.TM singer John Gourley’s in the balls, and not in a way that’s helpful.

Opener “So American” is the sonic equivalent of a David Bowie-themed, color-by-numbers drawing book, right down to the handclaps, tempo and charming, English-styled vocals. “You Carried Us (Share with Me the Sun)” progresses like an MGMT track, one with stale synths and boring lyrics. And “Everything You See (Kids Count Hallelujahs)” actually contains the phrase “the kids are just fine.” Snooze.

For a brief moment midway through its six minutes and 21 seconds, I thought (OK, hoped) closer “Sleep Forever” steadily morphed into Macy Gray’s iconic single “I Try,” from which P.TM’s almost completely rips a violin melody, and for which I have no qualms admitting my faithful love.

I feel like I’ve complained enough, so at this point I think I’m going to finish this review by listening to “I Try” a few times.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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10.05.2011 at 04:41 Reply

I get that you didn't like the album, but that doesn't automatically make it terrible. I don't know if you're familiar with PTM's sound, but based on the quality of the article, I imagine you probably spent 5 minutes in wikipedia reading about the band's history. Saying "this doesn't even sound psychedelic" is just plain lazy; maybe instead have some imagination try to actually get the music instead of hating on it. PTM is a pretty socially minded band, and you completely missed the significance of the music because you were too focused on insulting it just because it's not your style. You also clearly have little-to-no understanding of their larger body of work. If you did, you wouldn't have wasted our time rambling on about how it didn't fit your notions of psychedelic/indie sounds and instead could have talked about how the album made sense in perspective. I'm not even a huge fan of PTM, but I can at least make an effort to appreciate/enjoy the music and try to understand it.