Where did they begin?
We hadn't heard from Portishead for seven years until this year when they released a gorgeously ethereal cover of Abba's stellar 1975 hit 'SOS' for the movie 'High Rise'. And now they've launched a video for it in honour of Jo Cox, a British politician who was killed last week (June 16th 2016). But where did it all start for this Bristol four-piece?
Portishead's debut album was 'Dummy'
The artist... It was all about electronic music when Portishead formed in Bristol in 1991, with Beth Gibbons, Geoff Barrow, Adrian Utley and Dave McDonald. But these guys took it in a whole different direction, bring the trip hop vibe back with a touch of melancholy and they've been a summer festival fixture ever since.
The album... The self-produced debut album of Portishead, 'Dummy' was released in 1994 on Go! Beat and became a piece of work that redefined trip hop. It reached number 2 in the UK charts, though its reception overseas was less enthusiastic. Even so, the influx of critical acclaim it received was enough to land them legendary status.
Why you need to hear it... It's a spectacular piece of work in terms of sonic mastery and career defining songwriting. There's a very good reason why it won the Mercury Music Prize, and you'll have to listen to understand. Few songs can really inspire emotion purely through sound, but 'Dummy' doesn't even need lyrics to send chills down your spine (the good kind and the bad kind).
The best song... 'Sour Times': Sampled from the sensational 'Danube Incident' from Lalo Schifrin's 'Mission: Impossible' score, this is an infectious tune driven by smooth jazz rhythms, chaotic electronics and Beth Gibbons' haunting drone.
Where are they now? Their last album, 'Third', was released in 2008 but since then they've played regular festivals and later contributed a cover of Abba's 'SOS' for the film 'High Rise', before launching a video for the track in tribute to the late Jo Cox.