After a 10-year hiatus, Portishead is back with the release of “Third.” The band combines jazz, hip-hop, and experimental music to produce a unique sound. This album definitely is not their best, but that doesn’t stop me from loving it.
Portishead picked up exactly where they left off and came back as strong as before.
Beth Gibbons’ vocals seem part of the instrumentals at times, with her English accent tinged with a bluesy feel. But often there is an obvious concentration on vocals, which illustrates her great imagery. The perfection of lyrics is ripped apart by electronic beats and trippy riffs. Gibbons’ voice tells a story like no other, becoming a part of it and you.
As someone who spends most of her time paying attention to the instrumentals, I was surprised by the lyrics. Gibbons grabbed my attention with her riveting tone.
The songs are spooky but inviting, with influences from Radiohead, Hendrix, Joy Division, and Howlin Wolf. The riffs provide a labyrinth for your mind to spiral into. Songs like “We Carry On” have methodic, sinking beats and guitar riffs that remind me of Sonic Youth’s prime.
Portishead can go from beautiful melodies to gut-wrenching riffs instantly – not the stuff you can dance to. “Machine Gun” features hard-hitting electronic beats that stay with you, and are both haunting and mesmerizing. This interesting blend allows for short break from the intensity with “Deep Water,” which brings you back to reality.
You’ll be compelled to give “Third” a second listen. No wonder website last.fm proclaimed it the second-best album of the year.