Portishead’s new album is the soundtrack for danger.
Think back to 1997 for a second. Alanis Morrisette is on her Jagged Little Pill world tour. Tony Blair has just been appointed prime minister of the United Kingdom. Linda Tripp hits the record button for the first time. Harry Potter is a brand new book series for children.
This is the setting in which we last received a new Portishead album.
1997’s Portishead was even released after a three year break from their first album, 1994’s Dummy. Portishead does not rush things nor do they necessarily feel the need to reinvent themselves. Their first release, 1994’s Dummy is electronic without being techno- it’s slow and sexy with one coy voice singing dirt over drum machine beats. Their follow up, 1997’s Portishead, presented a much more eclectic sound, lower-fi, slower tempo, edging into a Bjork/Lovage sound but still with that familiar nasal purr.
Now, more than 10 years later, Portishead is releasing their latest album in to a world that doesn’t even buy albums. CDs are becoming obsolete and the majority of the teenage market has never even heard of Portishead. This, however, is not catered to by their newest album, Third.
Instead of forcing the now expected American Idol/Ashley Simpson cleanliness into the album, Portishead has taken Third in somewhat of a retro direction. Still utilizing the lone, yearning voice of Beth Gibbons, Third takes the playful electronic sound that was all over their second album and turns it up even further. Gibbons’ voice is still slow and sexy but now plays a balance with the numerous record samples. Liberal use of 70s style adventurous beats allows the album to take the same overall sound but inflect the music with a new purpose. Dummy was the album to get laid by and Portishead was the album to get stoned by. Third is the soundtrack for adventure, cigarette smoking, fast walking through the night.
This is the setting in which we now receive a new Portishead album. Finally.
Portishead’s Third will be release in the States on April 29th, 2008 and is being released on Island Records.