Wednesday, December 2, 2009


'It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under uh-huh huh huh huh.'

So once again the god of 'Pulling records at random from the shelf ' shines on me with this. Not even sure of the last time I listened to it but I do know it totally fucking rules. So, first time I heard it? I got this copy shortly after it came out, I remember buying the 12 of 'Glory Box' exhausting it as what the youth of today might call a 'shagging' record and then finally buying this. The album made things a lot easier, no more getting up partially clothed from a sex bed to skip a needle back to the start of a five minute song, the album bought me time, a whole twenty minutes per side (or similar).

I write this resigned to the sofa after a hard day's work, showered and faced with killing time with the help of a pizza and a bottle of wine until it's time to work again, an all too common phenomenon. Even so it's just finished playing and it was an utterly perfect soundtrack to the emptiness, the horror of a Wednesday night, an evening suffocated on both sides by equal ends of a working week.

I'm pretty sure the initial media hype around 'Glory Box' and 'Sour Times' did this band more bad than good. It associated them with a moment in time, a fleeting flash in the proverbial pan when the truth, a truth that has been proven and underlined twice by the release of the band's third album is that they had it about them to be more much more than that all along. I don't want to get a hard-on about 'Portishead - 3' here because this is supposed to be about the band's first outing, but if it isn't album of the decade then I'm a monkey's uncle or something. That fucking good.

So aside of being a soundtrack to an entire generations sexual explorations, the definitive album of the Trip-Hop movement and music to what seems like a million commercials this is something else, something timeless and fantastic.

I don't want to make the mistake of spluttering a running commentary of the track list and by now half the planet is familiar with the highlights but what is worth noting is the fact that this has not dated as much as a.) I had expected of b.) people seem to think it has. The embarrassing English 'Hip Hop' elements are more sparse than I remember, the 'Spy Guitar' isn't as obvious or intrusive as I had thought it might be so many years later and despite Beth Gibbons' voice being something of a one trick pony it holds it's own through-out.

It's good to know that something truly timeless came out of a particular dour period in British modern music. I had had honestly thought we might be remembered for the likes of 'Honky', 'Shed Seven' and such, that in mind, thank fuck for and hat's off to the West Countries finest.

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