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iTunes Review

Eleven years following their self-titled second album, Portishead’s Third is an inventive, challenging song cycle that never settles for easy listening. The time off was no vacation. Principal producer and writer Geoff Barrow was decidedly unhappy over the group’s comfort zone, disturbed that the ensemble’s experimental ways were so easily co-opted by others and fitted as a lifestyle soundtrack for a sophisticated, affluent class. With Third, the challenge was on to reinvent the group’s spooky trip-hop, film-noir magic as something far more extreme. “Magic Doors” and “Plastic” both clock in at the conventional three-and-a-half minute mark, yet in their compact structures the tunes cut-up and break down in unexpected jolts with beats slowed to crawls and Beth Gibbons’ eerie vocals tortured into free-fall. The minute and a half of “Deep Water” is a shockingly tame ukulele ballad with a barbershop quartet mocking Gibbons’ depressive observations, but elsewhere the emphasis is pure tension. The disruptive grooves of “Silence” set the ominous path. Songs shut down abruptly, or clang on with battered electronics (“Machine Gun”). Intense.

Customer Reviews

The dark end of the street...

From the opening voice sample on Silence to the closing "drone of doom" on Threads it is apparent Geoff & Co. have watched the world for the last 11 years and things are not right on our spinning orb... This is brave, daring and uncompromising music for a dark age. Any reference to "trip hop" is pointless...this is something new. Not for the fainthearted - prepare to be amazed!

Portishead is Back!

An amazing album from an amazing band. It's been 11 long long years, but it's finally here. A great, haunting, moody and brave album. It may take a few listens before you enjoy the complexity, subtleness and dense layers to create this beautiful songs. The atmospheric, tender sounds of the band still resonant but this album takes an interesting new direction. PORTISHEAD IS BACK!

A Little Different

Still the classic haunting sounds of Portishead but the hip hop element which I feel helped make the band is no longer present. Not a fan of this new's too bad I've been waiting a long time for some new material from them. I guess I'll pull out my copy of "Dummy!"


Formed: 1991 in Bristol, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Portishead may not have invented trip-hop, but they were among the first to popularize it, particularly in America. Taking their cue from the slow, elastic beats that dominated Massive Attack's Blue Lines and adding elements of cool jazz, acid house, and soundtrack music, Portishead created an atmospheric, alluringly dark sound. The group wasn't as avant-garde as Tricky, nor as tied to dance traditions as Massive Attack; instead, it wrote evocative pseudo-cabaret pop songs that subverted their conventional...
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Third, Portishead
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