Sound: Psychedelic and bluesy prog rock with howling melodies, haunting background vocals/chants/interplay and 70s-flavored organs. Elements of Led Zeppelin, The Mars Volta, The White Stripes and Blind Melon pop up throughout. At times the influences are strong, but Portugal. The Man distinguishes itself by having more vocal parts than any of those bands. John Gourley’s vocals are powerful and soaring, but they don’t dominate the festivities.
Heavy Rotation tracks: “My Mind”; “Church Mouth”
Medium Rotation tracks: The rest
Recommended: If you like the polyrhythmic aggression, creepy vibe and epic noodling of The Mars Volta, but wish they’d rein the music into easier-to-digest, bluesier portions, Portugal. The Man may have what you’re looking for. Their ambitious journeys are succinct. With an average track length of about 3:30, they hit you quickly with several, hook-filled ideas and move on. At times, though, you wish they’d let the action-packed songs spread out and breathe a little more. Regardless, Church Mouth is tremendously consistent and one of the premier rock albums of the year.
Grade: A- (Strong Top 20 Albums of 2007 Candidate)