In fact I’m content to hold off and wait — a little anticipation is a good thing. But! You should read Jess’s initial impressions over at Idolator — measured yet enthusiastic all the same. To quote a fave bit:
Many of Portishead’s new tracks could never be mistaken for the work of their blunted copyists, the spawn of a sound as unfortunately pernicious as the Vedder yarl or Brian Setzer’s love of the greatest generation. (Not the Bristolians’ fault, obviously.) But Beth Gibbons’ inimitably lovesickened voice and the band’s permanent frown mean old fans won’t be worrying they downloaded the wrong album. And though some might gripe the trio is stuck in a moody rut, really, who was waiting for the first sunny entry in the Portishead discography?
That said–and it’s not entirely surprising if you’ve been following the group’s individual breadcrumb trails during its long downtime–there are a few overtures toward the pastoral on 3 like “Deep Water,” a sketch for banjo and a murmuring Gibbons playing drowsy English folk princess chilling lakeside rather than dread soul siren cruising noir cityscapes. That said, “Deep Water” is followed by “Machine Gun,” which ditches the crackling turntable loops of old for grimy, staccato electro rhythms that shoot holes in the walls of your chill out room. Nothing on 3 is as violent as the band’s been hinting during the album’s long, on-stage coming out party, but it’s certainly raw and uneasy, often in unexpected ways.
I am happy.