Cor that Portishead album is a cracking good listen.
No seriously, it will take you away, drifting you further and further downstream, sweetly manipulate your senses, before it begins punching you in the face and between the ears. It manages to represent an audiophonic equilibrium between two contrasting forces. The musical binary opposites that operate within Third are mixed into each other as is typical of Portishead’s trade mark style and Beth Gibbon’s vocals, but at the same time they are allowed room to breathe creating cohesive songs independent of what we expect Portishead to sound like. I am anticipating that Third to be doing the rounds in seven months time when bloggers start compiling their Top 10 lists, which is where the album should be. Third appears to be Portishead taking their sound and finally moving forwards without managing to sound static or dated, it just was such a damn shame it took them so long.
Machine Gun is the first single for the band off the album, and while I agree that it is a suitable choice, I can’t help but feel that the potency of its visceral sound coming straight after Deep Water on the album is somehow lost, that there’s all push and no pull. It still packs a punch but its more a dead arm from a sibling or an errant friend rather than the gang street bashing that the song delivers in the context of the album. But judge for yourself, here is the band doing their thing with Machine Gun live on Later with… Jools Holland.