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Out Of Season Enhanced

31 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Enhanced, February 4, 2008
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Out Of Season + Third [Vinyl] + Portishead [Vinyl]
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

As collaborations go, the partnership of Portishead's ghostly singer Beth Gibbons and Paul "Rustin Man" Webb (former bassist of '80s pop band Talk Talk) seems an extremely unlikely one. However, as Out of Season shows, the pair have a surprising amount in common, including a love of supremely melancholic melodies and eerily atmospheric backdrops. Ambling quietly from the mournful folk of "Mysteries" through the twilight piano lament of "Show" and the uneasy cinematic sway of "Spyder," Out of Season creates a dreamily sinister otherworld that's both vintage and timeless. Yet, despite relying solely on beautiful bittersweet melodies and acoustic instrumentation to conjure its twisted romance--instead of the usual murky trip-hop beats and studio manipulation associated with Gibbons's dysfunctional songs--the fundamental chill of Portishead is ever present. And that's because, for all the wonderful, sleepy lullabies, it's the haunting isolation she conveys with every note that captivates. Even on the gorgeously hazy lounge tunes "Romance" and "Sand River"--both brimming with Burt Bacharach-style optimism--she manages to sound like Dusty Springfield with a dark and tragic secret. She has an amazingly affecting voice, which makes Out of Season a truly magical album. --Dan Gennoe

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 4, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced
  • Label: INgrooves Fontana/Sanctuary
  • ASIN: B0000CDL7B
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,799 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Daly Mavorneen, on December 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Possibly the best album of all time. Takes the decades of woe of a single human life, adds the achingly beautiful melodies of centuries of ballads, with the millennia of human voices altered by sorrow and finally mixes in lonely nature sounds accompanied by creepy little choral samples and "Out of Season" casts its shadow over your unsuspecting heart. These tender poems are saturated with bleakness by Gibbons' voice and the ghostly sparseness of the acoustic instruments.

The pain begins with "Mysteries" with the lines "When the time bell blows my heart/And I have scored a better day/Well nobody made this war of mine." "Romance" claims, "It's plain to see all the things we suffer/ at the hands of humanity." When she sings "Summer skies are leaving me behind/like a circle, life is ever moving by" it's less an autumnal afterthought than the realization of a soul damned in "Resolve." The lyric is full of pathos; it's almost a suicide note set to the most romantic tune imaginable. "Spyder" continues this meditation on suffering as Gibbons whispers, "Time is but a memory/a bitter note unsung/running, trying to find salvation/from the sorrow that is done."

And so it goes until it spends itself in tears and silence. By then, however, you have been transported to the island of the dispossessed.

UPDATE 2014: I made made the mistake of listening to this seasonal requiem today, November 25, when I noticed the earth had tilted and a certain slant of light had fallen over the Los Angeles Skyline. Gorgeous as all get get out, but am now left with quite a wet weekend feeling! Though I've been listening to this CD for12 years now, I've only recently put together more specific insights.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 4, 2004
Format: Audio CD
You know her best as the ethereal voice of Portishead, but in "Out of Season" Beth Gibbons strays away from indie trip-hop into melancholy acoustic pop, jazz and folk, collaborated with Paul "Rustin Man" Webb of Talk Talk. This autumn-toned collection is melancholy and pensive, a bittersweet little gem.
"Out of Season" starts off strong with the gentle, plaintive "Mysteries," followed by the shimmery "Tom the Model," the piano ballads "Show" and "Resolve," jazzy "Sand River," and the brilliantly murky "Spider Monkey." It finally wraps up with the bizarrely enticing "Rustin Man," a wavering outflow of shimmery sonic currents and Gibbons' submerged vocals.
The opening lines of "Sand River" ("Autumn leaves/Beauty's got a hold on me/Autumn leaves/Pretty as can be") pretty much describe "Out of Season." The cool prettiness of Portishead carries over to the folkier, simpler tunes.
Beth Gibbons' vocals are outstanding, clear and sensual in just about every song. "Rustin Man" and "Romance" are the exceptions. In the former, her voice sounds seductively mechanical; in the latter, she almost sounds like she's parodying a torch singer sometimes. It's a little disconcerting, but her voice is almost uniformly beautiful.
The instrumentation is stripped-down to bare bones: piano and acoustic guitar, most of the time. Adding a bit of extra flavor are gentle string accompaniments, and a bit of subtle organ work. And the songwriting goes more towards being moodily evocative, with quiet lines like "And those water-coloured memories/Soft as a summer's breeze/You're as pretty as can be."
Though a little uneven at times, "Out of Season" is like a fall morning -- cool, pretty and faded. Beth Gibbons' foray into non-Portishead turf is a solid one, and this collection of autumnal ballads is definitely a keeper.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful By M. Starr on October 31, 2003
Format: Audio CD
"The thing that I'm into is the philosophy of the music. I love the surprise of things, the accidents...just the sound of a word, to try to express them in the best way, so that the emotion is totally revealed." - Beth Gibbons
Out of Season, the new debut album from Portishead's Beth Gibbons and Talk Talk's Paul Webb, has practically left me speechless. These two have really made musical beatitude with this release. I struggle to find anything wrong with it. This album seeps into your psyche and warms your insides. It's achingly beautiful, hopeful, and melancholic from start to finish. Artists of this genre will be scratching their heads for quite some time trying to figure out how they'll top it. Conversely, one might think Out of Season is nothing new, but they'd be wrong. It's a near perfect album, which can't be said in too many cases these days.
Imagine yourself driving down a two-lane country road on a beautiful fall morning. The leaves are changing, and you feel like your grandparents when you find yourself saying, "Aren't the leaves just incredibly beautiful this time of year?" That is exactly what can be said for every single song on Out of Season. The lyrics, "Autumn leaves/beauty's got a hold on me," from the song "Sand River," basically summarize this similitude. Most of these songs in some way recall a Portishead song without any sign of a monumental drumbeat. "Spider Monkey," in fact, is a song that's almost like having sex without the ability to climax. If there were ever a song that needed the aid of drums, "Spider Monkey" would be first in line. The song begins with a Fender Rhodes that is slowly joined by an attacking acoustic guitar that will eventually inflate this song to orgasmic proportion.
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