Written by: Chris Andrade
I’ve been a fan of Portugal. The Man for a long time now. Ever since I picked up their debut CD from the BeatRoute review bin purely based on the band’s name. “Hey, my family is from Portugal! This must be good!” Well, that wasn’t exactly the sentiment but close enough. When I set my ears on Waiter: “You Vultures!” I was not just pleasantly surprised, I was blown away and every release since has been awesome.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. Their last album, American Ghetto, was a bit of a let-down for me. It wasn’t awful but upon my initial hearings, I felt like it was lacking something. I’ve since come to appreciate it but it’s certainly not their best piece of work. Having now signed with Atlantic Records for their sixth full-length album in as many years (this is one hard-working band), I was very interested to hear what direction they would take.
In the Mountain In the Cloud starts off with “So American”, a very strong, infectious track that sets the stage for the rest of the album. Following that is “Floating (Time Isn’t Working My Side)” before you’re hit with “Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now)”, a fantastic cut worth listening to over and over again, especially with it’s faint Pixies nod.
In fact, I can’t help but hear a lot of that influence in this record, granted with the signature PTM sound. John Gourley‘s unmistakable vocals and clean guitars are greatly complimented by the keys and piano parts strewn about perfectly at the hands of Ryan Neighbors. The rhythm section of Jason Sechrist (drums) and Zachary Carothers (bass) may be delicate but certainly not underwhelming, providing the perfect balance (and rendering you powerless to the ‘tap-your-feet’ urges).
Other highlight tracks include “All Your Light (Times Like These)” and “Everything You See (Kids Count Hallelujahs)” while “Senseless” is easily one of the strongest songs on the album. Overall, In the Mountain In the Cloud is an excellent album that shows PTM’s maturity and skill, something that should no longer be ignored. They’ve worked hard to get here and it shows.