Eva Vermandel

Third

B+
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Music
April 18, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT

Portishead return from a 10-year hiatus eager to stretch beyond the blunted ”trip-hop” genre that the U.K. trio helped pioneer in the ’90s. A few tracks on Third move at faster tempos (”Silence,” ”We Carry On”), smoky jazz samples are complemented by metallic synth riffs, and turntable scratching has been omitted entirely. As a result, Beth Gibbons’ spectral vocals linger atop eerie, warped pulses of music to create a swirl of melancholia. Third is indeed a less immediately accessible effort than Portishead’s more groove-oriented earlier work, but it’s no less gorgeous. B+
DOWNLOAD THIS: Hear ”We Carry On” and the rest of Portishead’s Third at http://www.last.fm starting April 21

Third

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