Portishead - Third 

Island

It's been a decade since English electronic trio Portishead have released a proper album, but the trip-hop silence has been broken with "Third"' a terrific collection of songs that would make any fan further lament the group's years of stillness.

"Machine Gun" is familiar, but strikes a new tone: more visceral and industrial with haunting synthesizer, pummeling drums and contrastingly isolated and gorgeous vocal bellows from Beth Gibbons.

The frantic "Silence" is a breakneck race of a song, immediately addictive and panicky' a delightfully dangerous driving tune that urges you to weave through urban traffic while speed-dialing a computer hacker buddy to set up a mysterious airport transaction.

"Plastic" perhaps sounds the most like late-Nineties Portishead, with a washing wave of guitar distortion and seams of sound sifting and fizzing.

With so many new bands incorporating electronic elements, keyboards, synthesizers, samplers and such, it's a relief to know that some of the tools' pioneers can still do it better than anyone else.

"?Joe Wertz

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