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Friday, May 26, 2017

Portishead -- Third


Portishead's first two albums explored a fusion of hip-hop, samples and sounds from the 50's, 60's, and 70's, spy guitar, and a pervading, yet enjoyable dark atmosphere, bolstered by Beth Gibbons' emotive and haunting vocals. Third, the band's third full-length album of new material, coming 11 years after their second, ditches all but the atmosphere, Gibbons' voice, and Adrian Utley's trademarked guitar sound. The vinyl skips and scratches of their first two albums are replaced with the worn sheen of 80's analog tape and synthesizers. Lead single, "Machine Gun," comes at the listener like a choice cut from Brad Fiedel's Terminator soundtracks. It's an aggressive primer for Third's sound, and yet, it isn't indicative of it, other than the fact that it doesn't sound like the music the band released in the 90's. But what is indicative of it? I will have to be a bit abstract, and by "a bit," I mean extremely:
You wake up, mysteriously, in a small boat, on a black, moonlit river, floating slowly through willow fronds. The hair on the back of your neck stands as the fronds begin to part...Third exists in this moment for 49 minutes.
That's all I got.

2008 Island/Mercury
1. Silence 4:58
2. Hunter 3:57
3. Nylon Smile 3:16
4. The Rip 4:29
5. Plastic 3:27
6. We Carry On 6:27
7. Deep Water 1:31
8. Machine Gun 4:43
9. Small 6:45
10. Magic Doors 3:32
11. Threads 5:45

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