Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Portishead Third

I finally got around to listening to the new Portishead cd yesterday on the drive home and all I can say is I'm glad it was still daylight! Imagine Radiohead writing a soundtrack to the scariest movie you ever watched and then getting Scott Walker (circa The Drift) to come in and sing it... However, although uncomfortable and unnerving, it is never at the expense of the listeners enjoyment. Like The Drift, it pushes the listener into a dark place but never oversteps the mark into artistic absurdity either musically (no punching of meat!) or lyrically (no punching of donkeys on the streets of Galway!) However, Beth Gibbons singing at times does bring to mind recent Scott Walker in it's high-pitched nervous delivery. The instrumentation is quite sparse throughout and moves between Hammer house of horror organs and krautrock synths with ease. The drumming at times in minimal (like a single drum heralding the start of an occult meeting) but steps up to an industrial version of Blue Monday in one track and moves onto chopped up breaks like Radiohead's Airbag in others. In one track a mandolin plays a bluesy intro but again the singing is otherworldly and sounds like it was recorded at a seance. Overall, a scary but enjoyable musically journey into the heart of darkness!

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