With a little help from Portishead.
Two completely different sides of sound.
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Do you remember in the mid to late 90s when trip hop was supposed to change the face of music? It was considered by hipsters and music snobs to be more intellectual than the then current state of hip hop and more progressive than electronic music. Portishead was always the band that spearheaded the movement by putting together two brilliantly moody albums that seemed to define the genre. Trip hop fans rallied around the band and touted their ability to mix new age ambient music with old school lo-fi recording culminating into a unique sound. Beth Gibbons’ haunting voice gave the music a beautiful eeriness to the instrumentation of Utley and Barrow. However, just as they seemed to be getting notoriety in the mainstream, in the late 90s Portishead decided to take a hiatus seemingly taking the whole trip hop genre on a hiatus with them.
Eleven years later the Portishead faithful aren’t looking for trip hop to start a musical revolution anymore. They are just ravenous to hear Gibbons command her vocals over cinematic masterpieces again. Portishead has decided to give the people what they want producing their latest offering “Third”. While the new albums’ sound is not as familiar to its down tempo ambient hip hop sound, it is in no way a regurgitation of past works. “Third” has new elements of psychedelic rock music and lyrically Gibbons has become more emotional. The album briefly juxtaposes between folk, jazz and electronic. Although there are obvious differences in sound the change is welcome. Another Portishead trip hop album in the traditional sense would seem out of date and old. You never forget who you are listening to when Gibbons’ voice come soaring over tracks like their first single “Machine Gun”. One listen and you’ll still swear they can change the landscape of music.