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Portishead

Portishead

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iTunes Review

After scoring a freak hit with "Sour Times" from their debut album, Dummy, Portishead approached their second album without trying to deliberately repeat its success. The self-titled follow-up is similar to Dummy but there's never a feeling of contrivance or towards perceived commercial concessions. Instead, Portishead begins with the tense and entrancing "Cowboys," a repetitive menace that's highlighted by Beth Gibbons' tortured, squeaking vocals and more of the group's trademark spy film dramatics. (Time ticks with metronomic precision while emergency tones pierce the gray fog.) This emotional wild-play sets Portishead apart. While the temptation might be there to use Gibbons more conventionally, set her up with torch ballads and back it with sophisticated arrangements and trip-hop beats, guitarist Adrian Utley and programmer Geoff Barrow look for ways to stretch the parameters, to turn noises into tunes and pauses into music. The hypnotic sway of "Undenied," the doomsday foreboding of "Mourning Air," and the sparse piano notes of the closer "Western Eyes" prove that they've done just that.

Customer Reviews

For the heartbroken

These rusty, frigid, and ominous anthems of despair will not appeal to the casual listener. Coming off of the groundbreaking "Dummy" released in 1994, Portishead present us with a genuine, anti-pop, no non-sense goth record driven by heavy orchestration, dismal organs, choppy low-rider beats, detuned atmospherics, chaotic record scratching, and Beth Gibbons' distinct fragile vocal delivery. This record might possibly annoy the fool out of you upon first listen but something keeps bringing you back. If you are looking for a modest collection of phat beats, get Massive Attack's "Blue Lines." If you are looking for reasons to cry, Portishead has plenty.

words are not enough

I cannot put into words how wonderful how great Portishead's self titled release is...but here's my attempt anyway: flawless, classic, emotional, pure, beautiful, heartbreaking, moving, etc. I have to admit that at first I was a bit put off by the way Beth sort of strains her voice sometimes, but now that I've grown to love this cd, I realize that her voice is 100% emotion pouring out from her mouth. If you don't know about Portishead yet, I recommend you snatch up this cd as soon as possible. Some prefer Dummy, but this is without a doubt my favorite. One of the best cds in my collection.

A Worthwhile Choice

Beautiful production and harmonic textures. Although the album (and a lot of Portishead's work) tends to be rather static in harmony and musical building, the mood and passion they put into the work almost makes up for it. This is one of those unusual albums where every track has something to boast, something to enjoy. It's consistently good work, and definitely worth the time to sit down and enjoy.

Biography

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...
Full Bio

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