Portishead - Third
Oct 27, 2015 (updated Aug 6, 2017)
87
One of the best feelings has happened recently and it's the feeling of a record that has sat with you for years, impacting you stronger than it ever has before. This time it's with Portishead's Third, a record that I have still found excellent in past experiences though not as much as their first two which undeniably remain as some of the most highly regarded releases in trip hop and the 90's overall. Now however, the band's introduction to the new century now sneaks up to me as perhaps their most consistently rewarding effort yet, brilliantly showcasing the group's dynamic talents as artists like never before.

I'm wholeheartedly sticking with the line "like never before" because even though Portishead have found success in creating some of the most captivating, moody atmospheres with their past two records, they never truly went out of the box in developing something a bit more left-field than their signature style of sampled, hip hop-influenced production and gloomy, melodramatic vocals. Third is the record most needed from a group like Portishead (especially after an 11-year gap in between releases), eliminating any potential status of becoming a one-note, trip hop act with a masterful reinvention of a band taking their usual formula and completely morphing into a new creation full of tasteful, avant-garde endeavours into krautrock and electronic.

Opener "Silence" sets us off in this direction right away with a nose-dive into krautrock instead of the expected trip hop and a jarring yet fascinating display of what's to come in terms of experimentation with its out-of-sync guitar loops and abrupt ending. Other highlights include the band's emotional peak on the folktronica lullaby, "The Rip", and the one-two punch of heavy contrast with the ukelele-led "Deep Water" and the evil, industrial perfection on "Machine Gun." Attempting to describe the material even further on a record so sonically adventurous and rich in detail is rather pointless at this point though.

8/10
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