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4.5 out of 5 stars 130 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Sept. 30 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B000003TSP
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 130 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,205 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Cowboys
2. All Mine
3. Undenied
4. Half Day Closing
5. Over
6. Humming
7. Mourning Air
8. Seven Months
9. Only You
10. Elysium
11. Western Eyes

Product Description

Product Description

Japanese only SHM-CD (Super High Material CD - playable on all CD players) pressing. Universal. 2008.


With Dummy, their 1994 debut, Portishead not only created a classic of turntable-derived soul, but defined their sound so exhaustively as to spawn a host of imitators. So what to do for a follow-up? As it happened, the answer was simple--refine the template. This self-titled album simply ups the ante on everything that made their debut so special: the brooding sense of menace, that deep streak of romantic fatalism. Much is made of the cinematic quality of Portishead's music--and indeed, many of these tracks sound like they should be accompanying some existentialist spy flick from the mid-1960s. But ultimately, it's singer Beth Gibbons that's their greatest asset: her vocals gliding effortlessly from the furious ("Cowboys") to the forlorn ("Mourning Air"); from the exuberant ("All Mine") to the exhausted ("Only You")--and all set to the group's most ambitious and expansive arrangements to date. A majestic, damaged and frequently terrifying masterpiece. --Andrew McGuire

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on March 29 2007
Format: Audio CD
Portishead created a unique sound in their debut "Dummy," combining smoky jazz and trip-hop. So an equally good follow-up was a pretty tall order. Enter the self-titled "Portishead," which ups the eerie noir feel while not abandoning the cool electronic edge. In the months before their return, it seems appropriate to revisit their older material.

"Did you feed us tales of deceit,/Conceal the tongues who need to speak?/Subtle lies and a soiled coin,/The truth is sold, the deal is done," Beth Gibbons intones, sounding like a slightly gleeful robot. That sets the tone for "Portishead," giving it a darker tone than its predecessor -- darker songs, darker vocals, darker music.

The jazz overtones are still there, bubbling up in songs like the distant "Over" and "Seven Months," which sounds strangely like fellow trip-hop artist Emiliana Torrini. Only the downtempo "Over" and softly poppy "Western Eyes" break from this cooler sound, sounding warm and unaltered. The rest of the album is a different story.

Somehow it adds to the noir atmosphere to have darker, colder sounds woven in with the jazzy trip-hop. "Humming" includes a strange background beat that sounds exactly as you would imagine a UFO. This dark, experimental edge makes it a bit harder to get into than their debut album, but when you do get into it, it's almost frighteningly intense.

The jazzy percussion is one of the first things you notice about this, paired with horns and thick synth. It's surprisingly heady to listen to. Also cold and distant -- which seems appropriate, since the simple lyrics focus on loneliness, melancholy, sadness and loss ("Why should I forgive you,/After all that I've seen,/Quietly whisper,/When my heart wants to scream?").
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Format: Audio CD
No, it isn't better than Dummy, but it is an equal achievement. This album is far, far darker and nastier than Dummy, as the staggering opening salvos of "Cowboys" and "All Mine" can attest. In spite of all the depression flung at you in Dummy, there was always a hopeful kind of feeling. There is absolutely no hope anywhere on this disc (except for possibly the last track). "Cowboys" is possibly the best song Portishead has ever written, and definitely one of their anthems.
1 Cowboys - Starts off with astoundingly echoed-out guitar, and goes from there into an extremely creepy and ugly "Twilight Zone" kind of vamp. Beth Gibbons' voice has been heavily bounced, and it makes her sound like a lounge singer on the world's worst hit of LSD. This is masterfully done.
2 All Mine - Worse and worse. Musically punchy, driven by loud horns, distorted guitar, and live drum and bass, but the lyrics are what make this song so incredibly unsettling. Gibbons has sketched out a narrative of a couple. One of the people involved has gone crashingly insane, and turns into a stalker. The stalker kidnaps his (or her) partner, ties them up, and that's how it stays "until the day I die", as Gibbons sings. Late night listening is not recommended.
3 Undenied - A soft and soothing keyboard drives this one, along with phased and looped drums. Almost like a lullaby, which is needed after "Cowboys" and "All Mine". But, rest assured, this doesn't last long. If this is already sounding like something that you wouldn't want to touch with a 10-foot pole, then don't touch it. This album is not for everyone.
4 Half Day Closing - This is a truly cruel psychedelic rant against...what?
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Format: Audio CD
In this second album, the vocals are more risky, and she takes chances with her voice, which is a good thing, meaning that the songs are more moving. The bad thing is that her voice just sounds too terrible to enjoy with it sounding so horrible in every song. When every song sounds as if she is singing through a drive through fast food restaurant intercom, it is just appalling. In the case of All Mine, and Only You, it is a perfect fit, being that the songs are about emotions run wild, and there is a need for such rawness. If the beats and musical landscapes were good, even this would over shadow such terrible singing, but the music is mediocre and monotone. After listening to the album a few more times, I still find that only these two songs alone are worth buying the CD at a bargin price. Honestly, I don't understand why all of the hype and praise is given to Portishead. Yes, their lyrics are their strong point, but one cannot live by lyrical content alone. Some advice, buy Massive Attack or Hooverphonic if you are looking for an album with excellent trip-hop music. Both of Portishead's albums aren't any where near as good as any of these.
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Format: Audio CD
i can't remember how many years we had to wait for the follow up to dummy (my brain is kinda messed up. 25 years of living on planet earth does this to a guy). anyhow the follow up came after years of waiting. and it was much different than most people were thinking it was going to be. but it's ever bit as good. the beats on here are alot more dark and a little weirder. i swear the beat on Seven Months sounds like a duck horn. lol. my dad had one and that's what one sounds like. also love the little guitar work in that song. beth's voice is amazing as always. the beats are great. there is a little filler on here like Half Day Closing & Over (never did like that track). but when they're on the top of the game (which they are for the most part) it's very good. i would rather give it a 4.5 but since i can't i'll have to go with 5 just because there really is some great stuff here. the last track on here is about as good of an ending track as you will get. the fake sample with the guy singing is classic stuff :) it's to bad they couldn't keep hitting us with albums but the 2 we did get are classic.
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