Portishead - Third
Critic Score
Based on 30 reviews
2008 Ratings: #8 / 795
Year End Rank: #1
User Score
2008 Ratings: #6
Liked by 156 people
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This could have been a witty, self-deprecating disclaimer, warning of typical third album creative bankruptcy. Instead it provides fair warning that Third is the most stunning, stark and superb Portishead album yet.
The Guardian

Portishead's third album is initially more a record to admire than to love, its muscular synthesisers, drum breaks and abrupt endings keeping the tension high. But after several listens, Third's majesty unfurls.

Resident Advisor
Reviewers tend to use the commonplace expression “life affirming” here and there without really weighing their words, but in this case, I can’t think of a more telling and appropriate cliché to describe such a truly genuine work of art.
The Skinny
Third is the most frightening record you'll hear all year, infused with dread and danger at every other turn.
A.V. Club

Barrow and Utley provide deep spaces for Gibbons' raw emotions to sink into, and nearly every track provides some little sonic goodie midway through as a reward for continued attention after all these years. For once, it's worth the effort.


The painful longing in her voice emerges from the silent spaces of “Plastic,” and the downright beauty of “The Rip,” an acoustic gem that explodes with an airy beat, reaffirms this band’s uncompromising devotion to the craft that brought them together.

Slant Magazine

The decidedly more guitar-driven Third is their most experimental album to date.

As punk’s dumbing down has proven, anyone can make abrasive music, but few can do something new and compelling with apocalyptic heaviness. That Portishead manage to do both 14 years into their recorded career is an unexpected triumph over the darkest clouds that have shaped their art and soul.
That ‘Third’ exists at all is impressive. That it’s Portishead’s best album yet is little short of miraculous.

Experimental rock is often derided as being cerebral -- and this is surely enjoyable on that level, for as many times as Third can be heard it offers no answers, only questions, questions that grow more fascinating each time they're asked -- but what sets Portishead apart is that they make thrillingly human music.


Third is a complete work of art to fully immerse yourself in, listened to start to finish. It will be a little awkward initially ... After a while, it will become a part of you. History will eventually see it rank on par with the rest of their legendary works.


Darker and bleaker lyrically than their previous work, Third is a sort of re-debut-- the band's sound after it has excised every possible remnant of trip-hop from it.

Consequence of Sound

Third works in every way most third albums never can attempt, by retaining the old, embracing the new, and remarking on the present. There’s still some dust here, but it tastes sweet.

Entertainment Weekly

Third is indeed a less immediately accessible effort than Portishead’s more groove-oriented earlier work, but it’s no less gorgeous.


At heart, Third is an album full of contradictions. It's obviously indebted to the '60s, but it still sounds futuristic; it could easily be the work of an entirely different band, yet it still sounds like Portishead; it's home to both their heaviest and most fragile songs yet.


This is a record substantially more alive than its eponymous predecessor. Portishead still sound like no-one else, but more importantly they aren’t just sounding like themselves, either: this is an album that occupies its own space, untethered to any of the musical trapping and quagmires of genre that snare so many other artists.

Drowned in Sound

Both ancient and futuristic, a mildewed signal from a more advanced culture that failed to survive the ice age, Third doesn’t make you pay attention to its desolate contours, but rather stare out of the window, creeping panic causing your mind to dart in a million dark directions at once.

Rolling Stone

Nobody ever listened to Portishead for their sparkling personalities or musical variety. What they're brilliant at is obsessively textured studio dread, and Third is an unexpected yet totally impressive return.

Tiny Mix Tapes

Third exists to be listened to, ironically, in places like coffee-shops; the difference between this and past work is that this record might make casual listeners frown over their coffees. Again, that’s probably Portishead’s intent, and taken as such, Third is a carefully rewarding record with enough inspired turns to entertain throughout.


Diving into the Third album from Portishead was quite a change in experience but in the best way.

Third was released in April 2008, having been self-produced and recorded in their studios in Bristol throughout 2005-early 2008.

The band went on hiatus after the release of their self-titled album in 1997 since Geoff Barrow (drummer and songwriter of the group) became uninterested in music as well as three years of touring and going through a divorce.
It wasn't until after producing for English ... read more


me track 1-7: "What a nice little album. Really calms me down."

me when Machine Gun: "AAAA AAAAA AAAAAA"


[Genre: Electronic]

Okay, Electronic is pretty broad and I doubt this perfectly exemplifies the genre, but WOW, I have really stumbled onto a gem here.

Portishead is a band I'm pretty familiar with already, and up to this point this was the only album I hadn't heard from them aside from the live album. Dummy is one of my all time favourite albums, and while I haven't gotten to re-listening to their self-titled I can certainly say I enjoy it from what I recall. Third however strays away from ... read more


uno d mis favs


Damn, they weren't fucking around on this one.


OK. - The Only Word I said while listening to this

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