Album Review: Portishead – ‘Third’

Portishead is a group from Bristol, England that is named after a nearby English town (which Geoff Barrow hails from).  It consists of Beth Gibbons (vocals), Geoff Barrow (keyboards), and Adrian Utley (guitar). 

‘Third’ may technically be their fourth album if you count the release of a live concert CD (Roseland NYC Live in 1998).  There soon after the release of that live CD the band went on hiatus to pursue solo projects and has been on that hiatus since 1999. 

‘Third’ marks their return to the studio as a unit and is no doubt a welcome return for their fans.  The album starts off with “Silence” which starts off with some Spanish(?) dialogue, a cord from what sounds like a 1940s film, and then moves into an modern electronic beat. 

It takes about two minutes before Gibbons starts to sing and it has an eerie distant quality and then the song suddenly stops.  It leads into “Hunter” which feels like a smoky dream.  The album feels like a dream wrapped in an enigma and comes off as very mysterious.  Being a mystery, you can’t help but listen to try and figure it out. 

There are no easy solutions to this mystery, but it does hypnotize you with each subsequent track.  I liked the album (my first intro to the band) and enjoyed its wispy quality. 

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.