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Third

Released on 28 April 2008

Artist: Portishead

4.0 out of 5 (16 customer reviews) | Write a review

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Results 1-5 of 16

  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

customer Reviews

 Average rating (16 reviews)

 Portishead - Third

| | See all Jonnypop's reviews (1)

Lets cut straight to what everybody who's shunned the illegal torrent file and is still waiting loyally for the authentic version has been thinking: Has Third been worth the 11 year wait?

Portishead Third album art Well, yes, just about. Third is a great record that, like most of Portishead's back catalogue, takes a dozen listens to before you even begin to enjoy and understand how its beauty, complexity, subtleness and dense layers combine to create a truly mystifying whole.

Don't expect a grand departure or startling re-evaluation that will cause your world to implode. Third is very much still a Portishead record like Dummy and their eponymous follow-up. Portishead have clung to the hallmark sounds that made them uniquely Portishead in the first place: Eerie atmospherics, claustrophobic turns, the haunting & tender vocals of Beth Gibbons, melancholic melodies and paranoid beats set to a cinematic soundscape.

That's not to say that Third simply replicates its predecessors trip-hop sounds, Geoff Barrow recently called it the big brother to Dummy and Portishead and he's right. But as much as it borrows from its siblings, Third also veers off on interesting new tangents and directions.

Traditional Hip-Hop samples and scratching are replaced by stark synths, dance-paced rhythms, piano and folky guitars. Silence and We Carry On initially stand out with their tribal beats, unsettling post-punk guitar figures and merry-go-round synth keys. The psychedelic organ on Small turns the track into a deranged Doors song whilst Deep Water really surprises (and kind of disappoints) with its moon-light basking ukulele and barbershop backing vocals.

Standout tracks are The Rip, Plastic, Machine Gun and Magic Doors, which collectively manage to reinvigorate Portishead's sound. From the beautiful organic-to-synthetic build-up of The Rip, the aggressive and evil electronica of Machine Gun to the exquisitely chopped up drum fills on Plastic. Gibbons puts in a beautiful vocal performance on Magic Doors, the crushed piano chords adding to the artistry and power of her lyrics.Beth Gibbons

These are the songs that earn Portishead a much needed authenticity that will see them through 2008 and beyond. But as good as they are, Third is far from perfect.

There are several occasions (Hunter, Nylon Smile & Threads) where the tracks seem to amble on without the spectacular crescendos or emotive peaks Portishead are so fantastic at constructing. Call it experimental, sub-par, whatever, they simply aren't as good as the rest (well, not after less than 10 listens anyway!) and the album suffers as a result.

All this aside, Third is another fine offering and welcome return from a group who has been sorely missed for over a decade. The NME may say, Portishead are Back! Back! Back! but somehow it seems as if they never went away at all.

John Thornton

 Not as good as Dummy - but better than Portishead methinks .

| | See all Chintiplopps's reviews (3)

I really like this album although it is sonically quite different from their previous style. Personally i really like it as it's darker and full of more interesting sounds than perhaps before. Nowhere as good as Dummy but overall a strong offering. Only aspects that i miss are the scratching and the Hip Hop basslines but hey it's not 1994 anymore and evolution is to be expected from artists. Stand out tracks for me are: Silence, Hunter and Deep water. Silence is out and out a banging tune and the folksy Deep Water; a nice surprise.

Buy it - you won't be disappointed!

 Difficult but rewarding

| | See all jacobitos's reviews (15)

Here we are then. Worth the wait? Definitely.

Less melodic, bleaker, darker, more abstract. What a brilliant way to finally lay the ghost of trip-hop to rest. There are still flashes of the Portishead people will probably expect, but they're buried under stuttering drum loops, awkward sonics, John Carpenter synths and scary atmospherics. In fact, 'scary' is a good way to sum up the majority of what Third has to offer.

I'll be honest, I was a little taken aback at first. What were our heroes Geoff, Beth and Adrian thinking? But repeated listens have revealed an album of intense depth and character. Obviously, Portishead have excelled at creating mini soundtracks since the release of Dummy in 1994 (yes, FOURTEEN YEARS AGO, long-time-ago-fans), but this is Portishead - The Horror Movie. And I love it. Innovative, determined and brave.

I guess a good comparison of the artistic shift would be the Cure's move from Faith to Pornography. It's that significant and that pronounced.

And it's also brilliant. We're lucky to have the West Country's finest back in the frame, doing what they do better than anyone else. Just don't expect Jack Davenport and Daniela Nardini to be writhing around to the strains of Third when the inevitable This Life - 15th Anniversary Reunion is released.

 Portishead...... but not as we know it

| | See all herdkilling's reviews (1)

I was really looking forward to this album, given my past love of their previous work. Unfortunately I was left feeling that an integral part of the sound( for me this seems to be the part I liked)has been left behind, there should be a natural progression but I feel that they have definitely gone in the wrong direction. A couple of songs, small,plastic and machine gun have echoes of the 'old' Portishead most will love and remember. The rest of the tracks seem to be disjointed and lacking any real rhythm or melody and lack the 'trip hop influence. I really wanted to like this album but I just cant bring my self to.....a real disappointment :(

 Goodbye Trip Hop

| | See all billbones's reviews (23)

Portishead have rightly moved on from their trademark 90's trip hop sound and developed their music into this haunting record that is proper indie - and therefore unlikely to satisfy you if you're into the Kaiser Chiefs.
It's a filthy record that is actually difficult to describe but if you REALLY like music, then you'll fully appreciate this.
A thoroughly interesting album that I am only just starting to uncover after about a dozen listens.

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