Remember Portishead? No? Well, that’s understandable, since whole genres of music have come and gone in the 11 years since their last studio album (most notably trip-hop, with which they’ve become synonymous). It’s a relief to find that they haven’t tried to replicate their past successes on Third.
They’ve maintained the dark, cinematic vibe of their best work, but instead of the dreamlike quality of the past, the sounds and structures here are assembled with more jarring consequences. If you can imagine a sonic aesthetic shift from Lalo Schifrin’s tense crime thriller scores to the pulsating whirr of the Silver Apples’ demented electro thrombipulation, you’ll have an idea of where they’re at. Even though not every twisted move they make on Third pays dividends, considering the stakes, consciously fucking with their formula is a bold gamble for which they should be saluted.