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Portishead|Portishead

Portishead

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Portishead's debut album, Dummy, popularized trip-hop, making its slow, narcotic rhythms, hypnotic samples, and film noir production commonplace among sophisticated, self-consciously "mature" pop fans. The group recoiled from such widespread acclaim and influence, taking three years to deliver its eponymous second album. On the surface, Portishead isn't all that dissimilar from Dummy, but its haunting, foreboding sonic textures make it clear that the group isn't interested in the crossover success of such fellow travelers as Sneaker Pimps. Upon repeated plays, the subtle differences between the two albums become clear. Geoff Barrow and Adrian Utley recorded original music that they later sampled for the backing tracks on the album, giving the record a hazy, dreamlike quality that shares many of the same signatures of Dummy, but is darker and more adventurous. Beth Gibbons has taken the opportunity to play up her tortured diva role to the hilt, emoting wildly over the tracks. Her voice is electronically phased on most of the tracks, adding layers to the claustrophobic menace of the music. The sonics on Portishead would make it an impressive follow-up, but what seals its success is the remarkable songwriting. Throughout the album, the group crafts impeccable modern-day torch songs, from the frightening, repetitive "Cowboys" to the horn-punctuated "All Mine," which justify the detailed, engrossing production. The end result is an album that reveals more with each listen and becomes more captivating and haunting each time it's played.

© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Portishead

Portishead

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1
Cowboys
00:04:39

Geoff Barrow, Drums, Music Production, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Adrian Utley, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Music Production, AssociatedPerformer - Beth Gibbons, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Portishead, Producer, MainArtist - Trevor Curwen, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dave McDonald, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1997 Go Beat Ltd.

2
All Mine
00:04:00

Geoff Barrow, Drums, Music Production, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Adrian Utley, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Recording Arranger, Music Production, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Nick Ingman, Conductor, String Arranger, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Beth Gibbons, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Clive Deamer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Portishead, Producer, MainArtist - Trevor Curwen, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dave McDonald, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sean Atkins, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1997 Go Beat Ltd.

3
Undenied
00:04:19

Geoff Barrow, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Adrian Utley, Producer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Nick Ingman, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Beth Gibbons, Producer, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Portishead, MainArtist - Dave McDonald, Producer

℗ 1997 Go Beat Ltd.

4
Half Day Closing
00:03:47

Geoff Barrow, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Adrian Utley, Producer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Synthesizer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Nick Ingman, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Beth Gibbons, Producer, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Portishead, MainArtist - Trevor Curwen, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave McDonald, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joseph Donald Byrd, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1997 Go Beat Ltd.

5
Over
00:03:55

Geoff Barrow, Drums, Music Production, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Adrian Utley, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Recording Arranger, Music Production, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Nick Ingman, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Beth Gibbons, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Portishead, Producer, MainArtist - Trevor Curwen, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dave McDonald, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1997 Go Beat Ltd.

6
Humming
00:06:02

Geoff Barrow, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Adrian Utley, Producer, Synthesizer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Nick Ingman, Conductor, String Arranger, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Beth Gibbons, Producer, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Clive Deamer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Portishead, MainArtist - Trevor Curwen, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave McDonald, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1997 Go Beat Ltd.

7
Mourning Air
00:04:12

Geoff Barrow, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Adrian Utley, Producer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Nick Ingman, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Beth Gibbons, Producer, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Portishead, MainArtist - Trevor Curwen, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave McDonald, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1997 Go Beat Ltd.

8
Seven Months
00:04:15

Geoff Barrow, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Adrian Utley, Producer, String Arranger, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Nick Ingman, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Beth Gibbons, Producer, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Clive Deamer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Portishead, MainArtist - Trevor Curwen, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave McDonald, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1997 Go Beat Ltd.

9
Only You (Album Version)
00:04:59

Geoff Barrow, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Adrian Utley, Producer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Nick Ingman, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Ken Thorne, ComposerLyricist - Beth Gibbons, Producer, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Clive Deamer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Trevant Hardson, ComposerLyricist - Portishead, MainArtist - Derrick Stewart, ComposerLyricist - Trevor Curwen, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave McDonald, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1997 Go Beat Ltd.

10
Elysium
00:05:54

Geoff Barrow, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Adrian Utley, Producer, Guitar, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Nick Ingman, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Beth Gibbons, Producer, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Portishead, MainArtist - Trevor Curwen, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave McDonald, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1997 Go Beat Ltd.

11
Western Eyes
00:03:58

Geoff Barrow, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Adrian Utley, Producer, String Arranger, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Nick Ingman, String Arranger, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Beth Gibbons, Producer, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Clive Deamer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Portishead, MainArtist - Trevor Curwen, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave McDonald, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sean Atkins, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1997 Go Beat Ltd.

Album review

Portishead's debut album, Dummy, popularized trip-hop, making its slow, narcotic rhythms, hypnotic samples, and film noir production commonplace among sophisticated, self-consciously "mature" pop fans. The group recoiled from such widespread acclaim and influence, taking three years to deliver its eponymous second album. On the surface, Portishead isn't all that dissimilar from Dummy, but its haunting, foreboding sonic textures make it clear that the group isn't interested in the crossover success of such fellow travelers as Sneaker Pimps. Upon repeated plays, the subtle differences between the two albums become clear. Geoff Barrow and Adrian Utley recorded original music that they later sampled for the backing tracks on the album, giving the record a hazy, dreamlike quality that shares many of the same signatures of Dummy, but is darker and more adventurous. Beth Gibbons has taken the opportunity to play up her tortured diva role to the hilt, emoting wildly over the tracks. Her voice is electronically phased on most of the tracks, adding layers to the claustrophobic menace of the music. The sonics on Portishead would make it an impressive follow-up, but what seals its success is the remarkable songwriting. Throughout the album, the group crafts impeccable modern-day torch songs, from the frightening, repetitive "Cowboys" to the horn-punctuated "All Mine," which justify the detailed, engrossing production. The end result is an album that reveals more with each listen and becomes more captivating and haunting each time it's played.

© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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