Infinite Shuffle

September 8, 2011

82 – Portugal. The Man

Filed under: P, Portland — assman41 @ 4:08 pm

Usually, by the time I sit down to write about a band, I’ve formed some sort of opinion about it, one way or another.

But after multiple listens to several albums by Portugal. The Man, I’m still not sure where I stand on the group. The four-piece from Portland puts out some quality music, but it doesn’t exactly grab me like I wish it would.

The difficulty in embracing the group’s sound is that it fluctuates through different genres while being rooted in progressive, psychedelic rock.

As I typed those words, I was listening to a song that perfectly encapsulated that ethos — “My Mind”, from the 2007 album, Church Mouth.

Portugal. The Man – My Mind

Portugal. The Man formed in 2002 in Wasilla, Alaska. They moved to Portland to be a part of the burgeoning music scene there — and presumably to get far away from the Palin family.

They put out their debut full-length disc, Waiter: “You Vultures!”, in 2006 and have released at least one album each year since.

“Ever since we first started, this is exactly what we wanted to do,” said lead singer John Baldwin Gourley, according to the band bio on Amazon. “An album a year, tour, and always challenge ourselves by pushing in different directions and trying to do things we haven’t done before.”

In 2009, they had a pair of releases on the same day — The Satanic Satanist and The Majestic Majesty. The former includes the single, “People Say”, which I heard for the first time earlier this year. The first couple of listens, I thought maybe Oasis had reunited.

Portugal. The Man – People Say

This past July, the group put out its seventh full-length disc, In the Mountain in the Cloud. I picked it up at a record store during a recent trip to St. Louis, and, having listened to four of the band’s albums, I can say it’s definitely the best and most accessible to date.

Judging by the band’s name and album artwork, it’s clear the members are a little off the beaten path. And that shows up in the rather lengthy titles given to many of the tracks on the latest album.

The strongest songs include “Everything You See (Kids Count Hallelujahs)”, “Floating (Time Isn’t Working My Side)”, “Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now)” and “Share With Me the Sun”.

But it’s the opening track that grabbed my attention immediately while hearing it at a listening station. “So American” sounds like something straight out of ’70s prog-rock — maybe similar to Rush, but probably more like some other band I can’t think of.

Portugal. The Man – So American


1 Comment »

  1. […] Portugal. The Man – “So American” […]

    Pingback by Best of 2011 – My list « Infinite Shuffle — January 1, 2012 @ 12:03 am

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