Portishead‘s Third, the trail-blazing trip-hop group’s first album in years, is also the first one that won’t put you to sleep. This is a big deal for a band that made its name on sounding evocative, filling previous releases Dummy and Portishead with quietly beat-oriented Mazzy Star-meets-RZA mood pieces. By contrast, Third is a more urgent, live-sounding record, especially on tracks like the insistent “Hunter.” The rat-tat-tat drums of the aptly named “Machine Gun” are gritty and level-pushing, and Beth Gibbons’ vocals — formerly sung from the shadows — are pushed to the forefront throughout. Guess the band spent its time off in the weight room: this is some heavy stuff.
Portishead – Third: Album stream
Previous First Looks: Laura Marling – Alas I Cannot Swim, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Pershing
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