ITS A NICE ENOUGH SOUND I am a fan, and I love the ability Portishead have of creating a sound so emotional but accessible as the tracks are here. I hate to compare albums but the original was the best, this kind of reminded me more of a Shirley Bassey sound which is fine except it lost a little of the magic for me. Almost as if it was trying too hard to be so different even from their first album. Maybe I think too much but this is how I felt about it. Having said that, it's a grower, I have learned to love it.
Awful. I bought this on the back of Dummy having thought Dummy was fantastic. No two albums can be the same, obviously, but you could at least expect the same vein in style, etc. Not in this case. Portishead is disjointed, screechy, annoying... I have read the 'in praise' reviews and I couldn't disagree more. All ten thumbs up for Dummy (impossible I know but that's how much I liked it) one star for this horror show.
I won't bother going into details about each individual track. All you really need to know is that this is an ESSENTIAL purchase; whether you liked 'Dummy', whether you are into Electronic / downtempo music, or simply if you just appreciate well-made, beautiful music.
I missed Portishead first time around, being too immersed in dancefloor-oriented stuff to truly get into this. Now that I'm older and wiser, I can fully appreciate Portishead for what they are - the best electronic band of the 90s if not EVER. This album feels a bit more 'grown-up' than Dummy. It's certainly darker and the production is of a higher standard. That said, I prefer the first album - it simply has better tunes from start to finish. A couple of the tracks on 'Portishead' feature a side of Beth which I really dislike (too much banshee-like wailing and warped impressions of Shirley Bassie for my liking) - a theme which unfortunately was built upon even further in 'Third'.
A lot of the uplifting melancholy of Dummy has been replaced by a twisted angst, which although works well for the most part, shining though on 'All Mine' and 'Elysium', I feel means that the heights of 'Numb' and 'Strangers' are not quite matched. That said, this album is still head and shoulders above everything else in the genre and beyond - and having listened to 'Third' recently, I can also say, it doesn't get any better than this from Portishead themselves............
Although a little bit more 'experimental' than the "Dummy" album (1994), it still creates an atmosphere are sheer devine feeling. The silky tunes and lushious mixing on the tracks, gives the album a sexy touch. Beth Gibbons voice is absolutely gorgious, some would say its piercing, but its pierces the heart not the ears. I've heard songs from this album being played on fashion websites and catwalks. It definately invigorates moods of utter-most sensuality, perfect for any romantic night in! If you enjoyed "Dummy", I'm sure you won't be disappointed!
Portishead created a unique sound in their debut "Dummy," combining smoky jazz and trip-hop. So an equally good follow-up was a pretty tall order. Enter the self-titled "Portishead," which ups the eerie noir feel while not abandoning the cool electronic edge. In the months before their return, it seems appropriate to revisit their older material.
"Did you feed us tales of deceit,/Conceal the tongues who need to speak?/Subtle lies and a soiled coin,/The truth is sold, the deal is done," Beth Gibbons intones, sounding like a slightly gleeful robot. That sets the tone for "Portishead," giving it a darker tone than its predecessor -- darker songs, darker vocals, darker music.
The jazz overtones are still there, bubbling up in songs like the distant "Over" and "Seven Months," which sounds strangely like fellow trip-hop artist Emiliana Torrini. Only the downtempo "Over" and softly poppy "Western Eyes" break from this cooler sound, sounding warm and unaltered. The rest of the album is a different story.
Somehow it adds to the noir atmosphere to have darker, colder sounds woven in with the jazzy trip-hop. "Humming" includes a strange background beat that sounds exactly as you would imagine a UFO. This dark, experimental edge makes it a bit harder to get into than their debut album, but when you do get into it, it's almost frighteningly intense.
The jazzy percussion is one of the first things you notice about this, paired with horns and thick synth. It's surprisingly heady to listen to. Also cold and distant -- which seems appropriate, since the simple lyrics focus on loneliness, melancholy, sadness and loss ("Why should I forgive you,/After all that I've seen,/Quietly whisper,/When my heart wants to scream?").
Beth Gibbons plays around with her vocals this time around -- while Gibbons's voice is normally very pretty, in a few songs she twists it into creepy monotones. It's a bit jarring at first, compared to her usual melodic singing, but it suits the darker songs here. The filtered, eerie intonations in "Cowboys" are downright spine-chilling.
Portishead, presently working on their long-awaited third album, made a triumphant second album. While not as easily accessible as their debut, it's definitely an entrancing experience.
Until I heard this, I thought Dummy was the best triphop album I've ever heard. With this album, Portishead have taken all the dark energy and searing emotion from the previous work and amplified it to the point of agony. It's impossible to imagine how Portishead-Portishead could ever be improved upon; perhaps the band peaked too early. This is a classic in its genre, taking the listener on a intimate ghost-train ride through the darker side of the human psyche. My favourite track is Elysium. It plods along, dark, cynical and unstoppable, then falls into a gentle trough which lulls and relaxes the listener. When the main dirge and evisceral vocals kick in again, it makes me want to hide in the cupboard. I love this album. Only downside - the singer's Shirley Bassey impressions are a little shrill. Tweeters everywhere beware...
Funny, most reviews seem to say that this record is whether much better than Dummy whether much worse. The fact is both Dummy and this one are absolutely wonderful and 100% unmissable. They are not in competition, they are a whole. If you're trying to choose which one to buy, forget it, just buy both. Gibbons with send shivers down your spine with her voice, and the music will linger on and on in your head forever. No words can truly describe these masterpieces, you have to listen to them to understand. This is worth 6 stars.
If this had been Portishead's first album, everyone would be raving that it was the greatest thing that ever happened in early nineties music. It wasn't and people aren't. And while there aren't quite the high points of Dummy - Like Sour Times, Roads and Glory Box, I think this second offering is more consistent than the debut. All Mine, Over, Only You are all fine songs. It's claustrophobic and classy, it's blue and brooding. I wish Beth Gibbon would sing more, she has quite an amazing voice. Portishead rock. Please can they release something again soon?