Third | 45rpm


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A TAV Curator’s Pick.

Third is the third studio album by the English band Portishead, released in 2008. Portishead's first studio album in 11 years, it moved away from the trip hop style the band had popularised, incorporating influences including krautrock, surf rock, doo wop and the film soundtracks of John Carpenter. It received critical acclaim and was listed as one of the best albums of 2008 by several publications. - Wiki

“Third is a record that comes from a creativity unleashed as much by listening to the likes of psychedelic doom bass madmen OM as Public Enemy (Geoff Barrow explained as much in a recent interview). Whereas much of Portishead's '90s output had the feel and limitations of a film soundtrack " 'All Mine', especially, would have slotted nicely into a Bond flick " Third is a complete, evocative whole. Final track 'Threads' is surely named for the unfathomably grim 1984 BBC mockumentary about Sheffield in the aftermath of a nuclear attack, and for that alone it's a brilliant way to end the album. Adding to its charm, there's a grim perfection to the deep, menacing, atonal booms that conclude it.

Of course, a record of unrelenting misery can't succeed as well as one where the mood varies; and Third succeeds precisely because it's an album that flows as well as ebbs. On 'Plastic', a peculiar and unsettling rattle adds tension, while the Silver Apples drive to 'We Carry On' demonstrates how Gibbon's voice (Ophelia singing distractedly to herself on the way to the river) has grown in textural dexterity over the past decade, even if her lyrics, which are often more personal and fixed in matters of the heart rather than in the abstract overarching mood, are perhaps the only weakness in the Portishead armoury. 'Deep Water', ostensibly a sweet torch song with querulous banjo, sounds terrifying in its juxtaposition with the grinding song that precedes it ('We Carry On') and the brilliantly tense one ('Machine Gun') that follows.

While Third is undoubtedly a dark, unforgiving album, you only have to look at the black-clad thundering legion that packed the Portishead-curated ATP last December to know that while such influences might have shaped this record, this is still a band who wave a scalpel at a very commercial jugular. Burial, say, will give you a more uncomfortable journey around the dark streets of a city at night, Sunn O))) a more stygian gloom, and so on.

Still, respect is due: Third is an unexpectedly absorbing album from a band who've used ten years of exhaustion and disillusionment to hone what was initially great about them before into something entirely new. It'll leave the Sunday supplement types - with their bulgur wheat, falafels and patio heater angst - a distant memory.” – The Quietus 

“Portishead's Third has been a long time coming, the result of a lengthy creative torpor following 1997's dark, distinctly underrated album Portishead. Importantly, though, they've shaken it. While the core trio of Beth Gibbons, Geoff Barrow, and Adrian Utley remains, this is quite a different band to Portishead's 90s incarnation: gone is the slo-mo turntable scratching and smoky jazz feel, replaced by heavy, brooding rhythms, vintage-sounding electronics, and spindly guitar. Still present, though, is that sense of emotional fracture and deep gloom.

"Silence" opens with a dense drum loop which suddenly falls away to reveal Gibbons' voice, cold but magnificent: "Wounded and afraid, inside my head/Falling through changes". "Nylon Smile", meanwhile, is a fine example of Third's occasional folksy edge, an acoustic song reminiscent of Leonard Cohen that, around its midpoint, lifts off on a propulsive electronic rhythm, Gibbons holding one clear, hard note as synthesisers bubble beneath. At times, it's a harsh and foreboding listen: the electronic drums of "Machine Gun" might put off the listener hoping for smooth dinner party fare. But Third is a brave and forward-thinking return, and one great enough to justify its lengthy gestation.”  -Louis Pattison

Item description:        




Third | Limited Edition 45rpm




2 × Vinyl, LP, 45 RPM, Album, Limited Edition



Release Date:



Electronica, Rock


Lo-Fi, Trip Hop, Experimental, Alternative Rock

Catalog No:

B0011141-01 JK02