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Third by Portishead
Released: Apr 2008
Label: Mercury Records
It's been 11 years since their last studio album, but still few can do claustrophobia and paranoia as coolly as Portishead. The hiatus might have resulted from having to reinvent themselves after becoming synonymous with a style as untrendy as trip-hop. On Third, all the heroin-fueled, nod-inducing breaks have been stripped away and retreaded with a dizzyingly bleak krautrock (see "Hunter", "Small" and "We Carry On") and bludgeoning mechanical beats ("Machine Gun"). The only truly familiar elements are Gibbons' ghostly slither and a filmic melodrama ("Threads" and "Nylon Smile").
Dan Shumate

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