Dummy by Portishead | 42282855329 | CD | Barnes & Noble
Dummy

Dummy

4.6 22
by Portishead
     
 

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Geoff Barrow and Beth Gibbons, a.k.a. Portishead, make music that is comfortably nestled in the dark alleys, abandoned harbors, and extended shadows. Yes, they love film noir. (In fact, on their first American tour, they screened a short film in the style before performing.) However, unlike the oblique minor-key hard-bop jazz that accompanies noir flicks, Barrow and

Overview

Geoff Barrow and Beth Gibbons, a.k.a. Portishead, make music that is comfortably nestled in the dark alleys, abandoned harbors, and extended shadows. Yes, they love film noir. (In fact, on their first American tour, they screened a short film in the style before performing.) However, unlike the oblique minor-key hard-bop jazz that accompanies noir flicks, Barrow and Gibbons make insinuating, edgy music that is often labeled trip-hop. Barrow and producer Adrian Utley create spare backdrops that heighten the tension in Gibbons's vocals. She sings of torment, but her soprano teeters on the edge of an emotional explosion, never losing balance. Her ability to maintain such a delicate perch, and the band's cinematic soundscapes, gave this 1994 debut considerable mainstream appeal. Although they didn't march up the pop charts, the recording was in heavy rotation in almost every hip coffee bar, bistro, and bookstore in America. They would have become the poster children for trip-hop, but no poster could be shot so dark.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - John Bush
Portishead's album debut is a brilliant, surprisingly natural synthesis of claustrophobic spy soundtracks, dark breakbeats inspired by frontman Geoff Barrow's love of hip-hop, and a vocalist (Beth Gibbons) in the classic confessional singer/songwriter mold. Beginning with the otherworldly theremin and martial beats of "Mysterons," Dummy hits an early high with "Sour Times," a post-modern torch song driven by a Lalo Schifrin sample. The chilling atmospheres conjured by Adrian Utley's excellent guitar work and Barrow's turntables and keyboards prove the perfect foil for Gibbons, who balances sultriness and melancholia in equal measure. Occasionally reminiscent of a torchier version of Sade, Gibbons provides a clear focus for these songs, with Barrow and company behind her laying down one of the best full-length productions ever heard in the dance world. Where previous acts like Massive Attack had attracted dance heads in the main, Portishead crossed over to an American, alternative audience, connecting with the legion of angst-ridden indie fans as well. Better than any album before it, Dummy merged the pinpoint-precise productions of the dance world with pop hallmarks like great songwriting and excellent vocal performances.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/17/1994
Label:
Polygram Records
UPC:
0042282855329
catalogNumber:
828553
Rank:
3775

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