Portishead – Chase the Tear

In 2008 I was thrilled when Portishead returned with Third – their first new record of new material in 11 years. In the mid 90’s I really enjoyed their two albums (and associated b-sides) – 1994’s Dummy and 1997’s Portishead. Both of those records were moody soundtracks to a rainy day – different in feel at times, but both used the same sonic template. The press coined the term “trip-hop” and for better or worse, that label has stuck with Portishead (and to a lesser extent, Tricky) ever since. As the years passed it became clear that Portishead were in danger of becoming the hipsters version of Guns n Roses – would ANYTHING released ever live up to those wonderful early records? As it turns out, I needn’t have worried (although in defense of Guns n Roses I enjoyed Chinese Democracy more than anything Velvet Revolver put out). Beth Gibbons beautiful voice was in tact. Moody atmosphere – in tact. The beats…well, the beats were much harsher than the earlier years. This was no retro act – they were in the hear (as in LISTEN) and now. Third was a wonderful record and is now actually my favorite Portishead record.

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