YOLO Album Review: Portugal. the Man “In the Mountain In the Cloud”

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Portland, OR seems to be churning out quality indie bands like it’s going out of style, and Portugal. the Man stands apart from most. PTM has been showcasing their developing eclectic style since 2004. Their psychedelic influenced sound hints strongly towards the result of some serious drug experimentation early on, and I can’t say I’m too surprised. Their front man John Baldwin Gourley grew up in a technologically isolated log cabin in Alaska, where drug taking, music making, and dog sledding (in that order) were probably the extent of the activities to be involved in.

PTM is one of the few active bands that I’ve been following since they started putting out music, which really changes how you look at new releases. You have something to compare to. Something that you’ve attached yourself to in the past that makes you even more critical than someone who newly discovers them. Being a part of a band’s evolution of sound gives you a real special connection. Their experimental vibe on past albums has transformed from a “whoa, who spiked my lemonade with LSD” take on their first effort It’s Complicated Being A Wizard to a more rocky and developed jam band style in Church Mouth and The Satanic Satanist. Their whole journey has brought them to a middle ground of near perfection on their sixth studio album In the Mountain In the Cloud.

It didn’t take much longer than my first run through to realize how appropriately titled the album was. You’ll find yourself in the mountain as you listen to the rocky tracks like “So American” and “Got It All,” only to be hoisted up by “Senseless” and laid gently in the cloud with “All Your Light” and “Share With Me the Sun.” The closing song “Sleep Forever” is one of my favorites, but it is almost too suggestive towards an end of sorts. Let’s hope not! The album’s orchestral and gospel feel seam together in such a mastered way that I feel would surely secure this piece in the top albums of 2011.

They’re playing a free show in LA for everyone who supported their album which is SURE to be a ton of fun. Album release shows are the best! I know Witler is going to be making her way over there, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can get my work done and do the same. Check out the details on the show here and be sure to grab the album when you get the chance!


1. So American
2. Floating (Time Isn’t Working My Side)
3. Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now)
4. Senseless
5. Head Is a Flame (Cool With It)
6. You Carried Us (Share With Me The Sun)
7. Everything You See (Kids Count Hallelujahs)
8. All Your Light (Times Like These)
9. Once Was One
10. Share With Me The Sun
11. Sleep Forever