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Friday, January 30, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 24.0° F  Partly Cloudy
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Portugal. The Man: In the Mountain in the Cloud

Portugal. The Man's major-label debut wears its inspiration on its sleeve, blending the melodic sensibilities of the Beatles and MGMT with vocals shaped by David Bowie and Prince. But these influences aren't meant to distract from a lack of substance; this is a heady, catchy collection that deserves praise. Opening track "So American" begins with an airy guitar riff that summons some very passionate handclaps when singer John Gourley warns that "There's a menace in us all." Rich layers of retro synths and noise form the soundscape of "Senseless," and album closer "Sleep Forever" begins with stripped-down instrumentation, building to a chorus that's dreamy and anthemic.

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