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Portugal. The Man - Senseless
Sep 04, 2011
Total plays:
86 times
Why do we like this?
One small step for the Man, one giant leap for Portugal.

On their major label debut, Portugal. The Man widen their psychedelic tent with a sound wide enough to engulf a nation. Keeping up with their feverish pace of an album per year, they manage to pull together another accessible album of shape-shifting rock, even though lead singer John Gourley has said making it took years off his life, and nearly sent him packing back to Alaska.

Crafting radio-ready singles could have been a tricky proposition for such a unique band thats cultivated a devoted fan base. It was something Gourley attacked head on in a blog post entitled "Dear Family, We Love You".

Speaking to them the week they signed to Atlantic in 2009, Gourley told me they wouldn't be handing in anything like their earlier album You Vultures, but acknowledged in the end, the goal is to make enjoyable music for a wide audience. You really can't fault the delicate way they've approached it, but in some ways I wish they would have continued to roam the woods rather than finding a distinct path.

This is a group of guys who would have continued making music record deal or not, and in some ways the overwhelming positive response to the band seems to have an energizing force on the group, in the two years since joining Atlantic, the guys stand out with more confidence in what they're trying to accomplish and present it proudly.

In the Mountain in the Cloud is successful in its accessibility, although it begins perhaps a little more cautiously than their previous work, their initial musical ideals quickly seep through. If the first two songs are to keep record execs nodding their heads, then they definitely catch their normal stride by the third track, "Got It All (This Can't Be Living Now)" while "Senseless" sounds just oddly similar to "Colors" off of Censored Colors while "Once Was One," sounds vaguely like "Guns & Dogs" from The Satantic Satanist.

In many ways the work plays like Portugal, the Album. An attempt at capturing their sound like lightning in a bottle, they recycle many past themes and at times lyrics. In the end, I really enjoyed it, but still preferred the original songs they were harkening back to more than the newly tweaked renditions. Hopefully this album inspires new fans to dig back through their discography, but they may just need to take more than a year off before their next album or they run the risk of becoming the next Guster or O.A.R.
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