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Album Review: Portugal. The Man - In The Mountain In The Cloud

With this release, Portugal. The Man have now put out seven records in six years, with that type of work rate, it’s always going to be difficult to maintain a high-quality sound.

Thankfully, 'In The Mountain In The Cloud' isn’t a terrible release by any means, but it’s nothing ground-breaking or brilliant either. What it is, is a very stifling, middle of the road release that sounds as if it was made for a mainstream audience, which isn’t really a surprise given that this is their first album since signing to Atlantic Records last year. The biggest problem with this record is that there’s a distinct lack of urgency and the production values are seriously poor.

The songs are good enough. Album opener, “So American” is easily the best song on the record, the best way I can describe it, is very dreamlike, John Gourleys' vocals are soothing, and the musicianship works brilliantly. The musicianship is actually the stand-out feature of the record as a whole, every song sounds as if it was put together with care, and it’s clear that each member is very talented at what they do.

My personal problem with this album is that there’s barely anything interesting about it, after the promising opener, the first half of the album seemingly blends into one, very long, boring song and by the time the next stand out song, “Once Was One”, hits it’s just too late.

It’s clear Portugal. The Man is a talented group, and I hope that their signing to a major label doesn’t mean that their sound will remain watered down. My advice would be to take their time with their next release, and get into a studio with the best producer that they can. Given they have such an extensive back catalog, I hope that 'In The Mountain In The Cloud' is just a blip on an otherwise fantastic history.


'In The Mountain In The Cloud' is out now on Atlantic Records.

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