Thursday, August 23, 2007

Portishead - 1997 - Portishead

From some reviewer:

"Despite Barrow’s prolonged bout with writer’s block and the fact that many bands had since sought to plunder elements from the band’s terrific debut album, Portishead managed to stay relevant and avoid the sophomore slump on Portishead, one of 1997’s most highly anticipated and best albums. Although less melodic and memorable than Dummy, and lacking any brilliant singles along the lines of “Sour Times (Nobody Loves Me)” or "Glory Box," Portishead is nevertheless an equally singular work that is even spookier than its predecessor. Beth Gibbons’ quivering voice sounds on the verge of collapse, and her often electronically manipulated vocals show off extreme affectations while angrily delivering bitter, heavy-hearted lyrics such as “only you can tear my whole damn heart” or “why should I forgive you?” For his part, Barrow is typically resourceful, again supplying scratchy atmospherics and dramatic effects that are perfect for dimly lit rooms with a stiff drink as your lone, comforting companion. Addictively depressing and relentlessly morose (they're kinda like the equally brilliant but far different Tindersticks in that respect), Portishead’s richly jagged torch songs don’t flow quite as smoothly as Dummy’s (comparisons are inevitable), but the album nevertheless leaves a lasting impression, particularly Gibbons’ tortured emotives, which play an even more pronounced role than before. Sometimes she’s a tad too over the top, though, causing Portishead to occasionally veer uncomfortably close to self-parody, but far more often than not the band strikes a perfectly hypnotic balance. In short, Portishead the band remain one-of-a-kind leaders of this type of music, and Portishead the album was well worth the long wait."

Track listing

Tracks written by Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons and Adrian Utley, except where noted.

1. "Cowboys" (Barrow, Gibbons) – 4:38
2. "All Mine" – 3:59
* Later covered by Tom Jones and The Divine Comedy
3. "Undenied" (Barrow, Gibbons) – 4:18
4. "Half Day Closing" – 3:49
5. "Over" – 4:00
6. "Humming" – 6:02
7. "Mourning Air" – 4:11
* Previously appeared on The Help Album.
8. "Seven Months" – 4:15
9. "Only You" (Barrow, Gibbons, Utley, Ken Thorne, Tré "Slim Kid" Hardson, Derrick "Fat Lip" Stewart) – 4:59
10. "Elysium" – 5:54
11. "Western Eyes" – 3:57

An amazing album from one of the great trip hop acts from Britain. Check it out.