Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time - Rated 419/500!
Dummy is the debut studio album by English electronic band Portishead, released in 1994 by Go! Beat Records. The album received critical acclaim and won the 1995 Mercury Music Prize, beating out PJ Harvey's To Bring You My Love, Oasis' Definitely Maybe, and Van Morrison's Days Like This. It is often credited with popularizing the trip hop genre, and is frequently cited in lists of the best albums of the 1990s.
The chilling atmospheres conjured by Adrian Utley's excellent guitar work and Barrow's turntables and keyboards prove the perfect foil for Gibbons, who balances sultriness and melancholia in equal measure. Occasionally reminiscent of a torchier version of Sade, Gibbons provides a clear focus for these songs, with Barrow and company behind her laying down one of the best full-length productions ever heard in the dance world. Where previous acts like Massive Attack had attracted dance heads in the main, Portishead crossed over to an American, alternative audience, connecting with the legion of angst-ridden indie fans as well. Better than any album before it, Dummy merged the pinpoint-precise productions of the dance world with pop hallmarks like great songwriting and excellent vocal performances.
From tape loops and live strings, Fender Rhodes riffing and angelic singing, these English subversives construct très hip Gothic hip-hop. A junkie for smoky atmosphere, keyboardist Geoff Barrow selects offbeat samples (Johnny Ray, Lalo Schifrin, Wayne Shorter) while Beth Gibbons croons through the intentional murk, copping glamorous Astrud Gilberto attitude. Songs like 'Roads,' 'Glory Box' and 'Sour Times' come across both sad and sexy, provoking cinematic images - lonely lovers in cocktail lounges, light slipping through Venetian blinds. Assertive rhythms and quirky production, however, save Portishead from languishing in any coy retro groove. Instead they manage yet another - very smart - rebirth of cool.
Portishead's 1994 debut is a masterwork of downbeat and desperation. They invented their own kind of virtuosity, one that encompassed musicianship, technology, and aura.
- 180g Vinyl
- 2008 Repress
- Sour Times
- It Could Be Sweet
- Wandering Star
- Glory Box