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4.4 out of 5 stars45
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 2 November 2002
"God knows how I adore life..."
It's difficult to remember a record so perfect in every way. It begins with a 50-second soundscape melting away beneath THAT VOICE. 'Mysteries' sends shivers down the spine, like 'Mojo Pin' (from Jeff Buckley's 'Grace'), it's an opener that fills you with excitement till you're fit-to-burst, flawless, beautiful, majestic, sweeping... and before you can catch your breath it's over. 'Tom The Model' slips into 'Portishead' territory before exploding into a preposterously catchy chorus, and so it continues... There isn't a weak moment or false note on this extraordinary record: Gibbons' shoves and pulls her voice around lilting melodies and trip-hop rhythms, seamlessly shifting from Billie Holiday-stylings to Sandy Denny in successive songs.
'Mojo Magazine' described it as "one of the best albums ever made"- that it lives up to and surpasses such expectations, whilst making today's six-hour train delay not just bearable but a joy, says more about this wonderful album than you could possibly imagine. Please buy this.
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on 29 October 2002
After waiting for a new Portishead album for a few years now I was surprised to hear that Beth Gibbons, the lead singer of Portishead, would be releasing a solo album. Her singing style and the accompanying music on Out Of Season are different from her work with Portishead. However, without a doubt the best moments on this album are equal to the best moments of the Portishead albums. I gave it 4 1/2 stars because there are three songs which I think that altough they are good are not worth 5 stars (however, I must state that another fan who also loves the album thinks that two of these songs are the best) but there are a few that are what I would actually call perfect and therefore worth more stars(Spider Monkey, Drake and Funny Time of Year) and others which are near perfect and worth an easy five stars(The Show and Sand river). This album speaks to the process of ageing and the helplessness associated with the finiteness of existence and all of the songs together as a whole speak to these themes. At times I find myself completely absorbed by the sadness and pure beauty of this album. I believe that most Portishead fans will really enjoy it even though it is a bit different than what they are used to from Beth. She brings forward new styles and further demonstrates how wonderful and talented she is on this solo debut. Although I am still anxiously awaiting the new Portishead album, I sincerely hope that this will not be the last solo project from my favorite singer Beth Gibbons.
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on 10 July 2008
I bought this cd after falling in love with Beth's voice. Comparisons with Portishead are unavoidable, but completely unsuccesfull. This cd constists of two kinds of songs. 1) Great songs, dare I say masterpieces (Mysteries, Tom the model, Fummy time of year) and 2) Almost great songs (all the rest).

This is definetely not an album that'll wake you up in the morning, it's MEANT to be played late at night, to let Beth's voice haunt your late hours, and why not, close your eyes and travel with your mind to the places she sings of.

It's difficult for me to define the genre of the album, cause that's like nothing I've heard this before. Most arrangements consist of just accoustic guitar appregios (Rustin Man), and Beth's voice.

This is a fine album indeed, and I can't not give special credit to "Funny time of year" which is one of the most depressing/devastating songs I've ever heard. If I am not mistaken, Beth said once in a interview (one of the very few), that she could barely speak for some days after recording this song, because she gave all the soul she had on it. And that's what the whole album is about.
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on 7 November 2002
I don't usually listen to albums of the mellow folky variety but this is
my favourite album of the year. "Mysteries" and "Tom The Model"
were already familiar to me from a Jools Holland show performance and both
accessible and quickly grow on you. "Spider Monkey" has a great haunting
melody while "Drake" has a beautifully mournful quality. "Funny Time Of Year"
gradually builds up to almost a rockin' number and then softly fades out. "Rustin Man"
kind of reminds me of The Creatures' "Don't Go To Sleep Without Me"
and the girl behind the radiator's song in David Lynch's "EraserHead".
Very smooth album varying from sparse sound to cool, smooth production
on different songs. Beth Gibbons has a wonderful voice throughout, whether she's being
melancholy or smoky. Quite a gem of an album.
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on 30 October 2002
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.
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VINE VOICEon 10 November 2002
This is a very striking and substantial release and one which manages to create something fresh whilst reminding you of the finest elements of the previous work of both participants. Paul Webb's ambient adventures with O.rang inform the production just as much as the autumnal hues of Talk Talk's "Spirit Of Eden", whilst Gibbons voice remains as frigile and expressive as it does with Portishead, yet also finds new timbres and nuances with which to colour this beautifully orchestrated work. The songs are bewitching and the overall sound of the record very welcoming, although consistantly edgy. If there is a "new folk scene" (and one hopes their isn't....), this must be an essential album for those wishing to explore it. And yet, it's so much more than that. Your word - timeless.
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on 29 October 2002
This collaborative album from Beth Gibbons (Portishead) and Paul Webb (Talk Talk) has been released with the most minimal of fuss, yet it should (but no doubt won't) benefit from its timing, as despite the title, the album radiates with the feelings, moods and soundscapes that the more reflective individual would assosciate with Autumn; the melancholy season. Those familiar with Portishead will not be suprised to learn that Beth Gibbons has here contributed to a record of dramatic, haunting beauty, however, the adopted sneer of the past which often resembled a satanic Shirley Bassey is here absent in favour of a trembling humanity one could justifiably believe to stem from the ever-modest Gibbons' own persona. In the openening line of 'Mysteries', the album's devastatingly sad opener, Gibbons sings 'God knows how I adore life'. This is not an ironic riposte to those who have in the past deemed Portishead a gloomy outfit, but a genuine life-affirming sentiment which sits ever more poignantly amidst the autumnal grace of this beautiful record.
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on 13 March 2007
If great music is often about great voices, then Beth Gibbons deserves far more recognition than she generally receives. This album, complete with Talk Talk's rhythm section, is an absolute delight.

The retro-electronica of Portishead is replaced by a warm pastoral/ acoustic backing that brings out the best in Beth's voice. And, if the intensity of this record means it isn't one that you will play week-in-week out, it is nevertheless so strong that you will keep revisiting it over the years and undoubtedly come to cherish.

This is a classic album that forges its own path beyond fashion or trend, and there is not a weak song on it. Beautiful music for autumn evenings when you fancy a change from your copy of Spirit of Eden (Talk Talk) or Hats (Blue Nile).
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on 30 October 2002
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 the tortured vamp she often played, to perfection, when singing with Portishead.
'Out of Season' has a rustic, sensual, autumnal 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.
Sometimes Gibbons is vocally reminiscent of American folkstrel, Melanie, at other times, she's a smoke-tinged Dusty Springfield, possessed by the spirit of Sandy Denny, recording a heavenly spaghetti western soundtrack. Throughout, she remains her own quiet, strong and other-wordly wondrous woman.
This is a work of unique and timeless beauty. A precious, precious gem.
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on 3 November 2002
Only now do we see the way influence really worked in the portishead line up. The sultry magesty that was their live show is somewhat recreated here. While this may make for an instant classic there is much more to out of season than meets the eye. A clever mix of sound and Gibbons own blend ofg eerie yet comforting vocals. Genius!
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