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Third [CD]

Portishead Audio CD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
Price: 6.18 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Portishead are a band from Bristol, England, named after the nearby town of the same name, 12 miles (19 km) west of Bristol.
The band was formed in Bristol, UK in 1991, by Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons and Adrian Utley. After releasing a short film (To Kill a Dead Man) and its accompanying music, Portishead signed a record deal with Go! Beat Records.
Dummy ... Read more in Amazon's Portishead Store

Visit Amazon's Portishead Store
for 73 albums, 12 photos, discussions, and more.

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Price For All Three: 16.69

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  • Portishead 5.09
  • Dummy 5.42

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Product details

  • Audio CD (28 April 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Universal
  • ASIN: B0014C2BL4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,949 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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

Product Description

Portishead's Third has been a long time coming, the result of a lengthy creative topor following 1997's dark, distinctly underrated album Portishead. Importantly, though, they've shaken it. While the core trio of Beth Gibbons, Geoff Barrow, and Adrian Utley remains, this is quite a different band to Portishead's 90s incarnation: gone is the slo-mo turntable scratching and smoky jazz feel, replaced by heavy, brooding rhythms, vintage-sounding electronics, and spindly guitar. Still present, though, is that sense of emotional fracture and deep gloom. "Silence" opens with a dense drum loop which suddenly falls away to reveal Gibbons' voice, cold but magnificent: "Wounded and afraid, inside my head/Falling through changes". "Nylon Smile", meanwhile, is a fine example of Third's occasional folksy edge, an acoustic song reminiscent of Leonard Cohen that, around its midpoint, lifts off on a propulsive electronic rhythm, Gibbons holding one clear, hard note as synthesisers bubble beneath. At times, it's a harsh and foreboding listen: the electronic drums of "Machine Gun" might put off the listener hoping for smooth dinner party fare. But Third is a brave and forward-thinking return, and one great enough to justify its lengthy gestation. --Louis Pattison

BBC Review

Back after ten years, Bristol's Portishead now make Radiohead look like the Monkees. Bleak times deserve bleak music, and here it is. Maybe it's Beth Gibbons' voice. It doesn't have range - but it does have the singular ability to be compressed, filtered, distorted and mangled any way that Geoff Barrow sees fit, and still survive intact. She can be a wailing banshee or some withered crone, but always vulnerable and distraught. And the relentless 21st century-ness of it all means that this time the band will have neatly sidestepped the fate of their first album, Dummy (and also many who came in their wake): that of becoming this summer's dinner party accompaniment. Put this on over the scallops and seagrass and you'll be discussing the sheer pointlessness of existence, rather than house prices.

The angst is couched in personal rather than socio-political terminology: On Magic Doors Beth's ''emotionally undone''; on Threads she's ''always unsure'' while on Nylon Smile she doesn't know what she's done to deserve him/her/it; but she can't live without it. Sex? Drugs? Love? It all fits the bill.

So far, so familiar: But sonically Third is extraordinary. Anyone foolish enough to still label this 'trip hop' will be floundering. The band now deals in a kind of psychedelic, post-industrial disjointedness. It's more like trip stop. Adrian Utley's contributions remain as awesome as ever. On Small he revives the spirit of Syd Barrett as he thrashes his echo-laden six strings against an organ raga.

The cinematic quality of their work remains, but despite Portishead's trick of sounding like they come from hellish '60s spy movie there are signs they've listened to what's been going on over the last few years. Ironically this often means that Third comes over as very post punk. Squelchy analogue synthesizers are a big, repetitive but almost totalitarian presence. The throbbing Machine Gun reminds one of Wire or even DAF with technology being pushed to its limits. On The Rip they progress from folk to krautrock, yet for all its talk of '''white horses'' it's not remotely close to the more lightweight sexual shenanigans of illegitimate offspring, Goldfrapp.

Third is also full of alarming juxtapositions. While they still employ the devastating trick of Gibbons' wail descending into a maelstrom who could have seen them turning out the 'jolly' ukulele-driven fever dream of Deep Water? On Hunter the electronics intrude into the mix like a piece of Len Lye's abstract celluloid cut into a Bergmann movie. And the 'noise' at the heart of the only track that could be considered danceable - Magic Doors - will keep sound engineers perplexed for years.

In fact, in ten years you'll still probably be hard pressed to find anything that sounds remotely like Third: Unless they make another album. Breathtaking! --Chris Jones

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
78 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Can Polish A Third..... 13 April 2008
By Jones
Format:Audio CD
Portishead's Dummy was quite an achievement - rarely does a band come from nowhere with their debut and blow people's minds with a truly original sound. The second album, whilst perhaps sounding more 'live' on a few tracks, was essentially more of the same - which is no bad thing when your music is as unique as theirs. But there comes a time when a truly great band must prove their genius by going in a new direction, and somehow succeeding in retaining the vein of quality. Radiohead did it, Bjork did it, and now Portishead have done it - they just did it more emphatically....

Third is an album that took ten years to come. Barrow, Utley and Gibbons have done an admiral thing - they have spent many years cultivating the record, probably writing and rewriting, recording, binning and re-recording, to eventually have an album's worth of songs worthy to appear on a Portishead album. They have also, by the sounds of it, been listening to a LOT of different types of music along the way. Because no matter what people tell you, this is an EXTRAORDINARY record which, with the exception of two songs, sounds nothing like their first two albums.

Of course, Gibbon's voice is unmistakable, and that in itself makes it Portishead. But the way she uses it is different - gone are the melodic choruses from songs like All Mine and Sour Times (believe me, they are melodic compared to THIS album) - instead Gibbons' voice is now used almost as an instrument, another sonic layer, the subtle beauty of which may only hit you after several listens.

As well the vocals, the instrumentation on Third is very different from the previous albums. No scratches this time around, few breaks - instead, very harsh industrial drumming (Machine Gun)and doomy, proggy guitar riffs (Silence).
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is good 16 Dec 2008
Format:Audio CD
Reading the one star reviews, two things struck me:
1. Lots of them have listened to the album once (some not even once all the way through). Like all the great albums, this is a grower.
2. Why do they want more of the same? Frankly, 'Portishead' was an insipid rehash of 'Dummy'. 'Third' is a massive leap forward.

Album of the year.
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53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uneasy listening 29 April 2008
Format:Audio CD
Portishead's eponymous second album sounded like they'd spent the years since their debut listening to their own music, and as such, was an often chilling and minimalistic exercise in distillation and refinement. By the same token, it also made any further venture in their distinctive style artistically redundant.

As a result, Third is necessarily a different animal. The sound is at once broader and more claustrophobic. Gone is the scratching and heavy sampling, but still with us (thankfully) is the distinctive and imaginitive percussion work. Dark grooves are rendered uncomfortable listening with the addition of high sustained synth tones. Gibbons's vocals are as ever full of shame, doubt and regret at things she's done or not done, but occasionally a little more upbeat and direct. The album in general is uneasy listening, often beautiful, often noisy, often obtusely changing direction at mid-point or ending suddenly - "Silence", for example, cleverly clips out just as its proggish coda starts to get self-indulgent.

There is even comedy here, too. Yet the ukulele-led (yes really) "Deep Water" is possibly the most disturbing song on the album - hearing Gibbons sing about not being afraid makes one wonder who she's trying to convince, and she comes across as tragically deluded. The song works as a palate-clearer too: the deliciously torturous drumming of "Machine Gun" is all the more punishing for following such whimsy, and its despondent Morricone-esque synth coda is a welcome surprise. "Threads" is a perfect ender, with that enormous, plaintive bass pulse radiating across the landscape like the cry of some wounded Lovecraftian leviathan.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic....just give it time. 7 Aug 2008
Format:Audio CD
Just had a read of some of the other reviews for this album. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, could I please ask that you doubters out there give this wonderful piece of music a chance.
Portishead have tried something a little different from their last studio albums and I think that they have come up with something magical.
If you havent got into it straight away, it may be one of those albums you forget about for 6 months or so, and then find it hiding under a copy of "master of puppets". If this is you, I urge you to listen again with clear ears to "we carry on", "machine gun" and "threads". You might just find that it was worth the wait.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The very definition of the word 'grower' 10 May 2008
Format:Audio CD
When I first spun up this album I have to admit I was disappointed. After such a long gap, thoughts of a radical change of direction are furthest from the listener's mind- we just want to be back in that student bedroom in 1997 listening to "Elysium" whilst we get stoned out of our minds with our campus buddy. And I fell into this trap instantly.

After hearing "Machine Gun" I was intrigued enough to want to recreate the 90s by being able to sit down and listen to a new Portishead album. That was an experience in itself.

"What is this?!?" I asked myself- and you should know I'm no stranger to disjointed 'uncomfortable' music, being a fan of the likes of Autechre, Aphex, Joy Division, Zappa- and I felt a little disappointed. I assigned it 3 stars in my head, but thought I was being generous. I found it even more paranoid, fractured and the soundtrack to the bleakness going on in Gibbons' tortured mind than their last one- and whilst I was in awe of this, I wasn't getting that so bleak it lifts you up vibe at all.

But I persisted, and on about the third listen it came alive. In horribly vivid black and white, like Bergman on acid. There it all was: the unmistakable Portishead sound- buried, certainly, but it was there under the rubble; this was Portishead in the 21st century- the Dark in the darkest of times; the suffering of man, the encroaching paranoia; the suffocating hopelessness that threatens to engulf us all if we let it; but also there is fight, there is anger- this is a militant record.

A more uncomfortable and yet rewarding listening experience cannot be found at the moment.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another walk down Desolation Boulevard.....
If you've heard anything by Portishead before, you'll know what to expect - they're not a barrel of laughs, but their output has a quirky integrity all it's own. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Phil C
5.0 out of 5 stars Portshead album
item was as described and arrived quickly...I haven't listened to it myself as it was purchased as a gift but the person who received it loves it!
Published 3 months ago by Donna Calladine
3.0 out of 5 stars Big follower of P'head for many years
Needs several listens to appreciate the vocals, writings and musicality. Prefer Dummy and Portishead but may need to give this more airtime..
Published 6 months ago by Doc (the Druid) Wickers
5.0 out of 5 stars Portishead THIRD
Always liked Portishead so this is pretty biased, well worth the purchase and cant wait for their next album to add to my collection and reminds me of their spectacular performance... Read more
Published 6 months ago by DAVID TODD
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrillingly dark masterpiece
A truly great album that received much praise on its release, but seems to have been somewhat forgotten. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Surfin' Gus
5.0 out of 5 stars Great cd
Thanks for taking me back down memory lane as you did with the Heather Nova CD. Forgot to say on that great price as this great CD was too. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Macca B
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing.
Found out about this album from a newspaper review. As I had a previous album which I really liked ( Dummy ) I bought Third without having heard it. Sorry guys, not for me. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mick Manning
2.0 out of 5 stars Perspiration rather than inspiration
I read that the band's producer had become discontent with what was described as their 'comfort zone' and this album has the feel of something forced rather than something that... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Forager
4.0 out of 5 stars Portishead's Third on Vinyl
This is a review of the Limited Edition 2LP Vinyl version.

If you've got this far (reading reviews on Amazon) then you may as well just add it to your basket now. Read more
Published 13 months ago by T. Schoon
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I can't review music, I'm terrible at it. I just wanted to throw another five star review, however, at one of the most brilliant albums I've ever listened to. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Mr. A. Doehler
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