Portugal. The Man, Woodstock (Atlantic)
[OVERSTUFFED POP] Anyone with access to a Pandora account needn't do much research to figure out the connotation of the term "landfill indie." Start with Modest Mouse, thumbs-up tracks by Band of Horses and Tame Impala, and there you have it—a guided tour of guitar-rock's so-called "resurgence" as it slowly breathes its dying breath, where you're almost guaranteed to hear the earlier work of Portugal. The Man. On their latest, the curiously titled Woodstock, the group has aggressively doubled down on a predictable mélange of Top 40-baiting sounds that aren't exactly rock, but are far too familiar for anyone to consider "experimental." After "Number One" briefly evokes the spirit of the titular festival with a sample of Richie Havens, listeners are smacked in the face with "Easy Tiger," a stomping pop ditty stuffed with pitch-bent vocal samples á la fellow mainstream music festival headliners like Flume and Odesza. Its core of slackerish, acoustic strumming and the underrated vocal range of singer John Gourley stands as proof that Portugal. The Man once knew what they were capable of, and played to their abilities. But other missteps, like the Black Keys-meets-Maroon 5 sad-boy swagger of "Live In the Moment" and the faux-swing shuffle of "Feel It Still," feel mostly like lukewarm attempts to shake down Apple for placement in an iPod commercial. The band is certainly successful enough to exist in a world beyond expectation at this point, but Woodstock sounds a lot like an unfortunate manifestation of ambition gone wrong.
SEE IT: Portugal. The Man plays Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey St., Troutdale, with the Shivas and Cat Hoch, on Saturday, July 22. 6:30 pm. Sold out. All ages.