From this week's Earplug:
Surfacing alongside contemporaries like Massive Attack, Portishead helped invent the so-called "Bristol sound" of the mid-'90s. The trio — comprised of vocalist Beth Gibbons, producer Geoff Barrow, and guitarist Adrian Utley — also played a pivotal role in the popularization of "trip-hop," using somber, slowed-down breaks, crackling vinyl scratching, and haunting vocals to catapult themselves from pirate radio to dorm-room stereos around the world.
Fresh off an 11-year hiatus, the group is finally making good on sporadic announcements and MySpace bulletins, staging its long-awaited return with the release of Third in late April. For the album, the band embraces faster tempos hammered on analogue drum machines, enlists the help of a men's choir, and constructs its own samples instead of cribbing bits from its record collection. The result is, in the words of Utley in an interview with Billboard, "the older brother of its predecessors... the same mindset we've always had, only further down the road." (CJN)