To most, Portishead is the band that officially launched the “trip hop” genre with their great 1994 debut album “Dummy”. A cool and hypnotic mix of drum and bass, guitar, eerie electronic sounds, and Beth Gibbons’ soft angelic voice.
The second album (Portishead, 1997) is really good as well. I haven’t heard their latest though. In any case, I wanted to emphasize the quality of their live performances. On the Roseland NYC live album, the band plays live with an orchestra (although the orchestra’s influence on the songs is actually very subtle). Beth Gibbons hitting these crazy high notes perfectly, live, is already worthy of praise, but sometimes, she’s even doing it while smoking a cigarette. That just blows my mind. Her beautiful and unfaltering voice is truly special. By the way, don’t smoke kids, your voice – and lungs – will most likely sound like an old car engine.
These live performances are grand, and so intense. All in all, Portishead offers a great musical experience.