Portishead are a trio from Bristol, formed by Geoff Barrow, Adrian Utley and Beth Gibbons in 1991. They're seen, along with Massive Attack and Tricky, as the main representatives of their city's sound, often referred to as trip-hop (a label the band detest) - based on hip-hop beats, dub and dark textures. Their first album, “Dummy”, came out in October 1994 on Go! Discs. It's one of the most influential works of the nineties. It took the Mercury Prize in 1995, reached number 2 on the British sales charts and sold over two millions copies in Europe alone. It features some of the key tracks to understand the Bristol sound: “Sour Times”, “Glory Box” and “Wandering Star”.
After the success of the LP they decided to take a three year break. In September 1997 they released their second, self-titled album, which was a huge commercial success. It equalled the UK sales and peaked at 21 on the Billboard 200 in the USA. A year later they released “Roseland NYC Live”, a live recording of their concert with the New York Philarmonic Orchestra. After working with Tom Jones on a track for his LP “Reload”, they decided to take another break, which lasted until 2005 - when they played at a charity concert in Bristol dedicated to the victims of the tsunami in south-east Asia. Geoff Barrow then revealed they were working on their third studio album, which would eventually be released in April 2008.
“Third” is their last album to date, released in Europe on Island Records. Initially, there were some doubts about the record, as it was the first they had recorded in over a decade. However, on its release the reception among the critics was more than enthusiastic: the band offered a raw electronic sound, with some industrial and experimental elements that also sat well with the public. It reached number 2 on the UK charts and number 7 on the Billboard 200. They have since done several tours, but they've only released one new track, “Chase The Tear”, of which the revenues went to Amnesty International. In recent interviews, Geoff Barrow has been elusive when asked about a possible fourth album, which they could start working on in early 2012.
“Dummy” (Go!, 1994)
“Portishead” (Go!, 1997)
“Third” (Island, 2008)