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Dummy [VINYL]

3 customer reviews

Price: £21.30 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
In stock.
Dispatched and sold by Amazon in certified Frustration-Free Packaging. Gift-wrap available.
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£21.30 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details In stock. Dispatched and sold by Amazon in certified Frustration-Free Packaging. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Vinyl (25 Aug. 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal / Island
  • ASIN: B00LQ0KV8Y
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,242 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Mysterons
2. Sour Times
3. Strangers
4. It Could Be Sweet
5. Wandering Star
6. Numb
7. Roads
8. Pedestal
9. Biscuit
10. Glory Box

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Vinyl
Bought this one as a present - this re-release also comes with a download code for the Portishead website so no need for Amazon's auto-rip. :)
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
What's to say? Not one bad track on this album. Love it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Hehir on 4 Oct. 2014
Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Masterpiece Work of Art for the Modern Era in Music 2 Sept. 2014
By Beatlenik - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Vinyl
DUMMY re-issued on Blue Vinyl and CD! What more can a music tripper ask for? This music will live on as a cult favorite and this new re-issue will win over new fans! Mind you, this is a special limited item release and is therefore expensive. The regular vinyl (Import 2014 release) is around $50, also quite expensive. If you are unsure (not a previous fan) of whether or not you should be forking out around 60 bucks for a vinyl album, you better be sure this music is for you first. Amazon has a bad habit of combining reviews for different media under one title and I have already reviewed the CD releases previously, so this may end up either replacing my previous reviews or augmenting them in some way, who knows, but in case, in any scenario, my original review follows below… Also one more note: [P]ortishead is a group of three core musicians who have only released three studio albums and one live album in 20 years. They waited three years between their debut album (Dummy 1994) and their second (Portishead 1997) and then a whopping 11 years before Third came out in 2008. (Roseland NYC Live was released in 1998 a year after their second album). So this is a group which takes extraordinary measures to release only what they want to, and that which is only considered (by them) to be worthy of public attention. They have never “broke up”, have taken a few hiatus, but continue to tour together and every so often release a single (ie. “Chase The Tear” used as a charitable contribution to Amnesty International in 2009).

As is implied by my name, and for those of you who have read any of my previous reviews, I am a "hold over" from the 60's and classic rock era. I was weaned on The Beatles and followed them collectively and individually from Ed Sullivan to insult song exchanges, to assassination, to cancer, to "memory almost full". I was a 60's folk rocker and space cadet, a 70's classic prog-rocker, an 80's wave rider and retro rider, and in the 90's the ground fell out from underneath me. What was there to find in the 90's which was not a continuation of the old dream? What was not either continued vigilance with long time partners or addiction to new names with an old paint brush (DMB, Sting, Melissa Etheridge, etc)? I was living in Europe at the time and a dance drub was predominant. In Bristol England a new sound was emerging. I don't care much for hip hop, never have, but Massive Attack was making inroads with the "older" generation, others like myself who were put off by the techno wave but could hitch onto the "trip hop" element and the jazzy croonings of Sade. If you had an instinct for jazz, outside of rock and folk, like I did, Massive Attack sounded, well... good! Safe From Harm and their ode to the brilliant William DeVaughn by covering Be Thankful For What You've Got was a perfect attraction to the oldies but goodies mind set. This was all cool but it was still as close to the new music as I was willing to get. Still there was nothing really "new" and fresh and exciting. Until Portishead. I didn't even notice Geoff Barrow's name in the Blue Lines album credits until way later...

I was one of very few Americans to take initial hold of [P] in 1994. This only by luck of circumstance, I was in Europe and the Bristol Beat was the new craze. But [P] were not fond of that notoriety, they were not fond of being called "trip hop", and they didn't give interviews, and getting them to provide a video to MTV, even in Europe, was like pulling teeth. [P] is the perfect band for the descendants of, and the aging of, the counter culture. Their music is like nothing else. Oh that's not to say there weren't immediate copiers (another thing which drove Beth Gibbons and Geoff Barrow utterly mad), there were, and those fans who couldn't get enough [P] would go so far as to settle for the second rate Morcheeba in order to at least have an imitation of the sound. It still was not what set [P]ortishead apart. My generation understands [P] completely. They are Beat. They are Poet. They are Hallucinogenic. They are Film Noir. They are dark and mysterious and as alluring yet frightening as the depths of Mordor. Using modern hip hop techniques of sampling and scratching and drum programming, they used down beat and the ancient art of melancholia to create an altogether new yet nostalgic sound. In these waves of subverted pseudo cabaret torchiness you will find, no "feel" Lalo Schifrin, Weather Report, Eric Burdon & War, Isaac Hayes, and Johnny Ray! They are all laid out right there in the grooves, it's in the mix. And stretched out over the flimsy parchment of drub and nostalgia samples are the crooning's of a torch song diva who could belt out Janis Joplin like the mistress of song herself, if she wanted to. She used to do that when she was found by Barrow in a bar. Now she writes her exegetic beat poetry in mystical song and stabs us with it. Geoff and Beth are essentially [P] but a third permanent member is critical to their sound. Adrian Utley was a phenomenal jazz guitarist working with Blue Note artist Big John Patton and also with Art Blakley's Jazz Messengers. How Geoff and Beth were able to lure him into [P] is rather much a mystery, but the mystery is [P]erfect for [P]ortishead because his unique atmospheric playing and often times James Bond guitar riffing completes the band in a huge way. So what exactly IS Portishead?

Aside from a seaside port city, 8 miles west of Bristol, a logistical key in the UK dating back to Roman times, Portishead as [P]ortishead is dream-like states, always just out of reach, smoke-filled bars, dark recesses and menacing corners, gothic melodrama with a femme fatale in shadows and fog. To describe [P]ortishead is like trying to explain beige to a blind man. Their music is a confluence of film noir, Rita Hayworth crooning, psychedelic 60's, downbeat-backbeat 90's, and elements (previously discussed) of hip hop but far removed from any of these things when the sum of the parts becomes the whole. To say they are like Massive Attack and the Bristol Beat (even though they are a part of that movement) is as true as saying they are like Bing Crosby or Ella Fitzgerald. Emotionally they are torch-song material, thanks to Beth's incredible voice and delivery. Lyrically they are impressionist beat poetry descending from Rimbaud and Bob Dylan but not Ginsberg. Sonically they are enveloping, dark, pre-Raphaelite, slow drubbing to mid-tempo, The Doors gone trip-hop. Utley plays all the guitars, from Bond low register to classical jazz accents and heartbeat Bass. Beth croons, paints black and white surreal images, cries out in angst, and plays the piano and acoustic guitar on tour (on studio albums she just provides vocals and goosebumps). Geoff is the everything else man. He engineers, programs, plays keyboards, turntables, even drums when needed (there are studio session drums and keys credits occasionally to other personnel).

Of particular note is that [P]ortishead uses decidedly low-fi effects to give their sound an unusual appeal. This is digital age music, but with artificial injections of retro feeling. For instance, sometimes Beth Gibbons will affect that classic Rudy Vallée singing I'm Just a Vagabond Lover through the megaphone sound in spots (The Beatles did this with Honey Pie on "the white album" and Queen with a few songs on A Night At The Opera). More noticeable though is the warmth given, in a loving way, of making [P] albums sound like old records by providing a "scratchiness" with occasional pops and snaps on the CD as you listen. The scratchiness is low key, never annoying, but obvious and it adds a dimension to the recordings which is once again, a trademark of their "sound".

Listening at home is one thing, especially on a high-end stereo in a candlelit room, but beware of playing [P] in your car unless you have one hell of solid system. Even Boston Acoustics with their fine bass units will shake the foundations at the lowest end of the spectrum. There is a pervading bottom end to [P]ortishead which you can literally feel in your gut and it is not found on any other recording group, but in your car, it will transmit itself to all cars around you and if your vehicle is not solid, pray the upholstery does not peel.

Dummy is the first debut of [P], I have been listening to it since late summer 1994 and to this day it is in my top five "modern era" albums. This group is extremely shy, reclusive, and tight-lipped. They literally take years in between albums, the last gap was 11 years between studio albums. They have one of the best live album concerts (on DVD even better) ever made, with The New York Philharmonic orchestra augmenting their peculiar sound (Roseland NYC). Dummy is still my favorite of their 4 (so far) albums, and remains the most popular of the buying public. It is best listened to as a whole album from start to finish uninterrupted as I think this was intended by the entire structure of the album. Those of you who have listened to Portishead songs individually and who like (or love) what you hear, will truly love Dummy. The best word to describe Dummy is haunting. It is dark and esoteric. The few who "get it" will be enraptured.

A few words more on some highlights of the album may provoke the reader.

The album kicks off with a descent into a maelstrom called "Mysterons"; thanks to an infectious snare drum, a science fiction movie soundtrack theremin warbles in and out of the crevices, Adrian plays a guitar riff rent from the grooves of Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow, and in same fashion Beth dissolves Grace Slick to a plaintive moan on greed and lust and punishment. "Inside your pretending, Crimes have been swept aside, Somewhere, Where they can forget, Divine upper reaches, Still holding on, This ocean will not be grasped, All for nothing, Did you really want?"

Sour Times clangs keys like a James Bond back-alley in Moscow or old East Germany, sampling Lalo Schifrin (The Danube Incident). Beth croons "nobody loves me" and Adrian plays Bond guitar melded with Ennio Morricone spaghetti western riffs.

Wandering Star is bass and drum nightmare of shared grief and cruelty. Beth delivers in spades: "Those who have seen the needles eye, now tread, Like a husk, from which all that was now has fled, And the masks, that the monsters wear, To feed, upon their prey." Wandering Star bridges the verse gaps with portions of Magic Mountain by Eric Burdon and War, the resulting track being a brief glimpse into an inner hell, and yet the song is provocatively beautiful and sad.

Roads just may be the most perfect composition and recording by [P] in their career. A soft and beautiful Rhodes piano protest ballad, hauntingly plaintive and pleading, when Adrian's echoing wah-guitar accompanying his string arrangement compliments Beth, you WILL get goose bumps! And quite possibly tears... "Ohh, can't anybody see, We've got a war to fight, Never found our way, Regardless of what they say, How can it feel, this wrong?"

Biscuit is entirely built around Johnny Ray's weeping "I'll Never Fall In Love Again", the instrumental bridges and his vocal refrain slowed down into the netherworld. Beth (as in most of her songs) never really divulges the meaning of the title "biscuit" but you can sense it is a bite of something she wish he hadn't eaten. It haunts her and enslaves her now, "Fully fed yet I still hunger". The Johnny Ray samples are rendered into a frightening specter, Geoff spins him back and forth like a newly discovered musical instrument and the last finish fade out will stick with you like an unnatural glue.

If you have never heard Glory Box before, prepare yourself. This is Beth's theme song, her version of the torch-song, a woman scorned, but this woman might just be a hellish cupid. You be the judge. A search at YouTube will easily turn up the original video for the song, tastefully made and it actually provides a little insight to what [P] are all about. But the sound issued from YouTube is nothing like the sonic adventure provided on disc. There is a surprise low end which will sneak up on you and punch you physically, this is Beth's punishment to men and women. Glory Box rebukes both genders with old fashioned metaphors and modern talismans. Ultimately this is the proper ending for Dummy, the tales are spun and by now you should be ensnared in the web. Beth may be "tired of playing... with this bow and arrow" but the temptress will enslave you! If you have listened to Dummy all the way through, if you made it this far, you are most likely a huge fan by now. This is not fruit to be eaten lightly. Savor the moment, you may not get another.

This then is [P]ortishead. And if any of the old mates known as [P] Heads are reading this, I wish you all well, this is ZardoZ signing off!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
One of those exceptional albums 5 Jan. 2015
By Susman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Vinyl
Dummy is the debut album of the Bristol-based group Portishead. Dummy is one of those CDs that still sounds as fresh as the day that it was released. So what's all the fuss about? Well basically, it's one of those exceptional albums where almost every single beat seems to be in place, every single little record scratch and sample fits into the mix and provides even more atmosphere, and lyrics that just melt in your mind. Each track really does create a new atmosphere of its very own that runs the range of emotions. Beth Gibbons is one of the main reasons this album truly comes to the fore. Gibbons effortlessly creates mood on every track, whether she's crooning on "It Could Be Sweet" or strutting it out to full effect on "Glory Box." Overall, if you're into trip-hop even the slightest and don't own this album, you should probably drop whatever you're doing and go out and buy it right now.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
... LP is exactly what you're looking for if you love this title 12 Jan. 2015
By beaumont livingston - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
This LP is exactly what you're looking for if you love this title. The sleeve and cover are high quality stock with the very excellent original graphics. the LP is properly thick and heavy with a beautiful label on it. The sound is phenomenal...perfect.

These are of limited quantity and will sell out. Buy one now or pay $100 plus dollars for one a year from now.
Sealed and quality was great. 15 Jan. 2015
By Christina Manner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
Arrived way ahead of expected date! Sealed and quality was great.
Five Stars 1 Dec. 2014
By Justintime - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
This debut album from Portishead hasn't aged one bit.
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