My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #05

Number 05


I discovered Portishead at an extremely early age, all thanks to my good friend, Tony Marshall. I’d say it was somewhere around the release of their second album, 1997’s self-titled affair, that my 13 year-old self was sitting in a dark room, both jamming to and freaking out from their sounds a bit. This trio had only two records (plus a live one) in their run in the 90’s, but I’d say their impact on the direction music would lead from then on was a massive one. It had been a full ten years since they released any type of material, and it seemed as though they had left their stamp and quietly bowed out, and if that were the case things would be fine; but we cannot lie that every once in a while we would always revert back to a pining for a Portishead return, because a world without new creations from a pioneering band such as this, is a lesser one. They have always been a simple and straight-forward and as far as titles are concerned, so when it came time for them to release their return with a third full-length earlier this spring, the set of songs was matter-of-factly called Third. It was such an unspeakably amazing thing – having the chance to open up a new Portishead record and smell it, knowing that you would hear the unique sounds accompanied by the one-and-only voice of Beth Gibbons again – even if the record weren’t to turn out the fantastic way it did, nothing could take away from that first moment of experiencing a grand, unexpected return such as this one.

Being away from the music of this group for such a long time made the listening process of Third a shift-shaping one. When I went through the record for the first two or three times, I was amazed as I knew I would be, but I was stuck on the idea that Portishead were being vintage Portishead, and even with a major absence on the scene. I wasn’t quick at all too realize that not only was this a amazing return, but one with commanding, loud, rebellious reason. It wouldn’t be until about the fifth spin that I caught myself in my premature, naive listening statements, and my ears would be derailed and crushed with the sound of a comeback by a band that we always knew we’re geniuses at what they do but kind of forgot just how much so, and then the recollection of all that eventually culminating in the staggering brilliance of Third. It’s impossible to even begin to nail down the bits and pieces that make this album the masterpiece that it is, but it’s obvious by the kaleidescope of forward change in the full scope of things heard here, that the ten years since their last release was not spent being absent from immersion in the artistry of music. They were always one of the most un-depressing of depressing music-makers…and now they have taken it to a new level.

1.Silence
2.Hunter
3.Nylon Smile
4.The Rip
5.Plastic
6.We Carry On
7.Deep Water
8.Machine Gun
9.Small
10.Magic Doors
11.Threads

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2 Responses to “My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #05”

  1. Elissa Says:

    I have never been a Portishead fan but I have heard nothing but good things about this album.

  2. Ferguson Says:

    I think you should give this one a try.

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