Portishead: 3rd

Portishead’s 2nd was released in 1997, so was it worth the 11 year wait for their 3rd? Well they’ve retained their distinctive sound of repetitive jarring beats overlaid with Beth Gibbons’ angelic vocals. Despite the simplistic sound, like all music of any credit there’s far too much to be picked up on the first couple of listens, and some of the disjointed rhythms don’t seem to make sense the first few times around. However, “3rd” is up there with the first 2 great Portishead long players and the similarity surely guarantee’s aficionados of the first two will also love this one. To pick a few standout tracks, I would have to mention “The Rip” with its delicate acoustic guitar refrain underpinning the gorgeous vocals before the synthesised rhythm gradually builds up and takes a hold. “Magic Doors” opens with the monotonous tone the BBC used to broadcast at night when they’d run out of telly, the unwavering tone is joined by an avant-garde drum loops reminiscent of early Nick Mason to produce a surreal cacophony.