Third (Portishead album)
|Studio album by Portishead|
|Released||27 April 2008|
|Genre||Electronica, experimental rock, art rock, alternative rock|
|Singles from Third|
Third is the third studio album by English band Portishead. It was released on 27 April 2008 on Island Records in the United Kingdom, 29 April Mercury Records in the United States, and 30 April on Universal Music Japan in Japan. It was Portishead's first studio album in 11 years and moved away from their earlier trip hop style, using instruments including analog synthesisers, the ukulele and electronic organs. Third entered the UK Albums Chart at #2 and the US Billboard 200 at #7, becoming the band's first US top 10 record. It received critical acclaim.
Portishead produced Third themselves, recording in the band members' studios in Bristol. Many of the album's songs had existed for years as sketches before they were finished, with the members exchanging recordings and adding ideas. Wanting to move away from the "trademark" trip hop sound of their first two albums, Portishead avoided using instruments they had used before. Drummer Geoff Barrow said "the basic thing was to sound like ourselves, not to repeat ourselves."
The band experimented with swapping roles; Barrow played bass, and singer Beth Gibbons played guitar on "Threads". Guitarist and keyboardist Adrian Utley said Portishead were "looking for limited frequency in instruments ... Limited playing, too. I pursued virtuosity for many years, learning scales and harmony, and being able to improvise through scales and chords, but technique isn't important for me any more."
For "Silence", Barrow initially sampled a record that had a spoken-word Portuguese introduction. Inspired by a Wiccan theory about the number three, the band wrote a "manifesto", had it translated into Portuguese, then recreated the sample with the new words to introduce the album. To create a "deliberately harsh" effect, the band did not synchronise the guitar's delay effect with the song's tempo, creating asynchronous echoes.
Portishead used several vintage analogue synthesisers, including a Korg MS-20, ARP 2600, Siel Orchestra, VCS 3, and a clavioline, an electronic keyboard that predates the synthesiser. The Siel Orchestra's sequencer was not sophisticated enough to play the arpeggios in "The Rip", so the band recorded the notes individually and edited them into an arpeggio pattern. For the song's first half, Utley played a children's acoustic guitar he found in a junk shop.
"Deep Water", played on ukulele, was inspired by Steve Martin's performance of "Tonight You Belong to Me" in the 1979 film The Jerk. Utley was initially unimpressed with the song, saying: "I couldn't get with it at all, didn't like it. Geoff said he wanted to put these backing vocals on it, and I said I was having nothing to do with it. We didn't argue, I just conceded on that."
To create the rhythm in "Machine Gun", the band sampled the drum machine in an old electronic organ. The song's synthesiser outro was inspired by the film soundtracks of John Carpenter. For "Magic Doors", the band added hurdy gurdy, and saxophone played by Will Gregory of Goldfrapp. According to Utley, "we made him be a free jazz player that day ... we told him just to go fucking mad, to freak the fuck out. He had to move out of the room, so we couldn't see him, so he'd feel less inhibited."
On 8 and 9 December 2007, Portishead curated the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in Minehead, England, and performed their first full sets in nearly 10 years, premiering five tracks from Third: "Silence", "Hunter", "The Rip", "We Carry On", and "Machine Gun". On 21 January 2008, Portishead announced a European tour to support the album, with a headline spot at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on 26 April 2008, their only US date on the tour.
On 21 April 2008, a week before its release, Third was made available as a free web stream on Last.fm, attracting 327,000 listeners in 24 hours. It was the first time Last.fm had made an album available before its release.
|The A.V Club||(A-)|
|Drowned in Sound||(8/10)|
Third received critical acclaim. At the review aggregate website Metacritic, the album has an average rating of 85 out of 100, indicating "universal acclaim". Many critics praised the band's change in sound after a long absence.
Alan Ranta of PopMatters gave Third nine out of ten, writing that "history will eventually see it rank on par with the rest of [Portishead's] legendary works." Allmusic gave it four and a half out of five stars, calling it "utterly riveting and endlessly absorbing" and "genuinely, startlingly original." Pitchfork Media awarded the album 8.8 out of 10 and named it that week's "best new music", writing that it was "a staggering transformation and a return to form that was never lost, an ideal adaptation by a group that many people didn't know they needed to hear again." The AV Club graded the album A- and wrote that "nearly every track provides some little sonic goodie midway through as a reward for continued attention after all these years. For once, it's worth the effort." The Guardian awarded it five out of five stars, and wrote that it "is initially more a record to admire than to love ... But after several listens, Third's majesty unfurls."
Third was listed as one of the best albums of 2008 by several publications.
|6.||"We Carry On"||6:27|
|8.||"Machine Gun" (Barrow / Gibbons)||4:43|
|10.||"Magic Doors" (Barrow / Gibbons / John Baggot)||3:32|
|UK digital download bonus track|
|12.||"Magic Doors (Live on Current TV)"||2:44|
|EU and Japan iTunes Store bonus track|
|12.||"We Carry On (Live on Current TV)"||6:15|
|US iTunes Store pre-order bonus track|
|12.||"Threads (Live on Current TV)"||6:29|
|Japan Enhanced CD bonus video|
|12.||"Ade's House / Machine Gun"||10:36|
|United Kingdom||28 April 2008||Island||LP||1764104|
|LP box set||1766390|
|United States||29 April 2008||Mercury/Go!||CD||B0011141-02|
|Japan||30 April 2008||Universal Music Japan||CD||UICI-1069|
- "iTunes – Music – Third by Portishead". iTunes. 27 April 2008. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
- "PORTISHEAD - Artist - Official Charts". Retrieved 2014-04-18.
- Hasty, Katy (7 May 2008). "Madonna Leads Busy Billboard 200 With 7th No. 1". Billboard magazine. Retrieved 2008-05-07.
- Forrest, Peter (November 2008). "Adrian Utley: Recording Third". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- Pareles, John (April 13, 2008). "After a Decade Away, Portishead Floats Back". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- Review of December 2007 ATP shows StrangeGlue.com. Retrieved 27 December 2007
- Portishead announce 2008 tour NME. Retrieved 27 January 2008
- "Coachella lineup". Coachella.com. Retrieved 22 January 2008.
- "Portishead fans flock together for early album stream". Side-line.com. 1 May 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
- "Third Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Third (Portishead album) at AllMusic. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
- Matos, Michaelangelo (28 April 2008). "Portishead: Third | Music | Music Review". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- Reviewed by Mike Bruno (18 April 2008). "Third Review | Music Reviews and News". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- "Portishead: Third | Album Reviews | Pitchfork". Pitchfork Media. 28 April 2008. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- Uncut. May 2008. "Third is the most stunning, stark and superb Portishead album yet."
- Jude Rogers (25 April 2008). "CD: Portishead, Third | Music | The Guardian". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- Rob Sheffield (1 May 2008). "Third | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- Mojo. May 2008. "Third shows Portishead in the tradition of, say, Fairpoint Convention as much as Massive Attack, and though it might not convert sceptics it is convincing, and occasionally thrilling, demonstration that the wilderness can be a great place to cook up new ideas."
- "Portishead: Third". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2012-11-26.
- "NME Album Reviews – Portishead". NME. 28 April 2008. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- Ranta, Alan. "Portishead: Third < Music PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
- Third at Discogs (list of releases)
- Austrian Album Chart
- Williams, John (7 May 2008). "Madonna's 'Candy' hits No. 1". Canoe.ca. Retrieved 2008-05-07.
- Kink FM
- German Album Chart
- Swiss Album Chart
- Third at Metacritic
- Third at Discogs (list of releases)
- Third on Last.fm
- Portishead – Track by Track on YouTube NME interview with Geoff Barrow and Adrian Utley discussing the tracks on the album.