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|3. Nylon Smile|
|4. The Rip|
|6. We Carry On|
|7. Deep Water|
|8. Machine Gun|
|10. Magic Doors|
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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