I love Portishead. I bought their first single ‘Numb’ in a record shop (remember them?) in Greenwich purely on the strength of the name of the band – I knew nothing about them. Then I saw them live twice, once in a tiny club on Regent Street just before they got big. I even liked their second album. But I didn’t hold out much hope for album number three – ten year wait. Admirable though this work rate is – 3 albums in 14 years – they did seem to have become a bit ‘up’ themselves.
Listening to Third for the first time now on last.fm, it’s clearly a fantastic record. Their second album was too much like the first – this new one is pleasingly bonkers. There are real drums, there are synthesizers, there are drum machines… and banjos! ‘The Rip’ is utterly beautiful, and ‘Machine Gun’ sounds much more delicate (and brutal at the same time, if that makes any sense) than it did on Jools Holland.
Portishead – The Rip
File under jazz. File under psychedelic. File under folk. File under Jefferson Airplane. File under Joy Division. But on no account file under ‘trip hop’.