After five years of silence, erstwhile Portishead singer, Beth Gibbons, brings us a collaboration with ex-Talk Talk bassist, Paul Webb, aka Rustin Man, that ranks as an instant classic. The elements of filmic majesty that set Portishead apart from the rest of the trip hop mob are still apparent in places, but this is a far more sparse album, filled with quiet acoustic beauty.
Gibbons sounds more comfortable here, away from the role of tortured vamp she often played, to perfection, when singing with Portishead.
Out of Season has a rustic, sensual, autumnal, folk ambience, no better displayed than on the opening 'Mysteries', where Gibbons' fragile paean to love and life is gently supported by ethereal choir and guitar.
At times vocally reminiscent of Melanie and Sandy Denny, Gibbons creates a work of unique and timeless beauty. A precious, precious gem.