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I could be describing myself here, but this album is 'Depressing, Deep and achingly beautiful'
Dummy - Portishead
Member Name: huggy2009
Dummy - Portishead
Date: 24/02/10, updated on 24/02/10 (28 review reads)
Advantages: Wonderful Musical Journey
Disadvantages: Don't listen to this if your a bit low!
Dummy is one of the most atmospheric albums I have ever heard, named after an area of Bristol, the band Portishead created a moody, elegant album full of sadness and regret and unequalled beauty.
With Beth Gibbons on vocals the album is filled with achingly sad songs of loss, loneliness and isolation.
The album was released in 1994 and is their debut, it was a popular album around the world building on the Bristolian Trip Hop of Tricky, the Wild Bunch and Massive Attack and giving strings and a sense of melancholy to the genre.
It is difficult to pick out particular songs as the album is very much background music, it has cool cinematic music and the vocals are amazing, but it does flow along like one long moody song.
The excellent Sour Times is a song only reached number 57 on release but was later re-released, it sets the tone for the album as Gibbons croons about the sour times we're living in, this a stand out track as is Mysterons which has a great trippy start and a weird Mysterons-esque beat alongside a tin drum sound, the vocals stand out totally as the overwhelming influence on the album but the moody guitars, samples and drums build a dark, edgy world of musical niihilism. Numb is utterly beautiful with a standout sample and a lo-fi feel to it, the song really does sound like a tune made in a garage, but it is beautiful, Gibbons sounds more seductive than sad and the song has a certain dirty sexiness to it, while Wandering Star has a thumping bass and a strange disjointed backing vocal, but is probably the most fun and upbeat song on the album.
This is not an album to listen to when you are depressed, it is very low and deep and the kind of thing to listen to at university or as a backing track to a cool dinner party. It is timeless and still sounds amazing today, but enjoy it as a 45 minute piece of music rather than the particular songs.
The samples and dub on the album are first class and it has a real 60's feel with cinematic sounds straight from the John Barry school of music, but allied to a modern dirty edge. It is a great album which they have been unable to equal as individuals or as a band, but as a piece of work it is one of the best musical pieces I know of.
2. "Sour Times"
4. "It Could Be Sweet"
5. "Wandering Star"
10. "Glory Box"
The album is available for £4.95 on Amazon, the cover features a picture of Gibbons at a concert and to me looks like an old sixties cover by the Kinks or something, the album definitely has a retro feel to it allied to a thoroughly modern sense of detachment and musical eclecticism, its definitely worth buying, although its even cheaper on Ebay.
Summary: I could be describing myself here, but this album is 'Depressing, Deep and achingly beautiful'