Monday 21 September 2015

Portishead - Third - ?

Why am I writing about this now? Old news I suppose but....I dug it out the other day and gave it a spin. This LP was universally acclaimed and ended up in a lot of best of the 00s lists. I don't recall any reviews at the time but it seemed like everyone liked it and thought it was a good idea. Portishead moved away from the trip-hop and headed into much whiter zones. I mean Beth was always white as a ghost but in a Dusty/Janis wish I was black kind of way. Was she once a Janis Joplin impersonator? With the hip-hop and soul samples turfed here for tributes to Can, United States of America via Broadcast, Pram, Silver Apples and whatever else they were referencing beyond track 6 etc. it all seems a bit odd. It's a bit like, I dunno, The Stereophonics releasing a jungle album. On Third, it was like Portishead wanted to rewrite their own history and state the case that: We too could have been a UK post-rock band circa 94. Third would have fitted pretty neatly into that category. The best thing about Dummy though, was the fact that they weren't indie or post-rock or Brit-pop. On Dummy they were stark blue eyed soul with hip hop beats encased in a dub mentality. It felt pretty new or at least of it's time with their re-situation of John Barry with bleak torch singer amongst dubbed out trip-hop. I think their debut and the underrated follow up were quintessential 90s records that are still worth listening to, depending on how much time you spent in Cafes in the mid 90s that is. So why all the plaudits and respect for Third? I can only think that perhaps the 00s were worse than I thought and people were grasping on to anything. I mean it's tasteful and everything but.... fuck by the time they get to Deep Water's country twang, I wanna smash the fucking stereo in.

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