Sound — 4
Generally, people's opinion on this band are one way or another. You mention Portugal. The Man in social networking comments section, and you'll either be shot down as a "hipster douche" or a musical purist. I am a big fan of the band, and came in with an open mind, expecting the best, but I was greatly disappointed. The sound I can say for sure isn't exactly your everyday indie record, and not at all run-of the mill. If their was a specific chart for "experimental progressive alternative indie rock/pop" it would make number one, no question. Portugal. The Man are know for drastically changing their sound from album to album and working with Danger Mouse as the producer, it was always going to be imminent that this was going to be something different. Many of the songs are mainly piano driven, and besides 3 or 4 songs with pretty good hooks, the rest just seems a bit unapproachable and you'll find yourself not enjoying it all too much. Maybe it's a lack of flashy musicianship, or maybe Danger Mouse just doesn't work as well with them. All in all, It's dead average. Listening to the album from beginning to end it won't be a pleasurable experience, with just 1 or 2 songs offering a reward for doing so. It's seriously lacking something that would grab your attention.
Lyrics — 7
It seems like lead vocalist John Baldwin Gourley whispers out his darkest thoughts to you, and his Back and Forth, to and froing between calm and confusion, which produces the product of a dark, disturbed and curious mind. And it's is actually pretty good. I was very impressed with his physical voice in this album, and it's probably the highlight, the only problem is though, that by only using that high vocal range, you can often sound monotonously "indie." As a whole, the lyrics on the album are well-written and impressive. The drawback? On occasion the music is horrendously matched with the lyrics. It almost makes you wonder if Danger Mouse didn't want to just get this record "over and done with."
Overall Impression — 6
If you're looking for a quality Portugal. The Man album, look no further than their previous effort "In the Mountain in the Cloud." On this album however, it seems almost like they tried to sound too different. No sense in Re-inventing the wheel, now is there? A couple of the songs did stand out though, Namely the Progressive groove track "Evil Friends" the drum machine-fueled, ballad driven outcry "Modern Jesus" and the psychedelic jumpy "Purple Yellow Red & Blue" but in the end, that's just not enough to redeem it. I pity the poor souls that per-ordered this album. It it were stolen/lost, it wouldn't matter, because I wouldn't have owned it in the first place, and that saddens me. Don't worry though, the few good songs will be playing on endless repeat on your local indie radio station.