Out of Season Import
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So, here, four years after Portishead's 'difficult' second album, comes Out Of Season, recorded with ex-Talk Talk man Paul Webb. This is stirring, emotionally volatile stuff. Ten simple, elegant folk songs, sparsely arranged, all individual and distinctive with ample room for Gibbons to showcase her talent. At its best, Out Of Season is truly incendiary. The opener Mysteries is at least the equal of Dummy's finest ballad (Roads), while Tom The Model is naggingly catchy without ever coming close to grating. Romance is all Shirley Bassey-kitsch, while Resolve, perhaps the highlight, is utterly heartbreaking.
HEr songwriting is also impressive. Together with Paul Webb they managed to write a great bunch of songs. The musical style is very quiet and relaxed..basically an acoustic version of Portishead. Being without the electronic base, all the songs tend to be more focused on the voice of BEth, however the arrangements are always interesting, albeit very simple. Most of the times the songs have just a piano and some guitar, sometimes a violin or a horn is in the background, but the vocals tend to predominate. The only song where there is a real orchestral arrangement, with some horns in the background, is Tom the model, which is the best song of the album and is a bit reminding of some motown stuff. Other real masterworks are Show and Sand River. But the general tone of the album is very good and there is not one single bad song. All in all, a great record, which establishes Beth Gibbons as one of the great singers of this decade.
"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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just on vinyl quality-- it's a MOV release from a digital master-- but it sounds good. Lots of bass, has warmth, decent sound stage. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Wesley D. Headley
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... Read morePublished on September 26, 2012 by Daly Mavorneen,
I'm a big Portishead fan but I found myself wanting more of Beth Gibbons, more of her voice, more of her style without the occasionally hysterical, over dramatic Portishead beats a... Read morePublished on January 11, 2009 by undomiel
I can't think of any vocalist that I would prefer to listen to than Beth Gibbons. I have listened to this CD 40+ times since I received it and the music is still fresh and... Read morePublished on August 31, 2008 by D. W. Ferguson
her music career had began with portishead.i have all of portishead albums,but this album is beth gibbons' best. Read morePublished on May 17, 2005 by Bunji Kugashira
As a part of Portishead, Beth Gibbons churned out smoky cabaret blues which made for invigorating showpieces of her incredible smokey voice. Read morePublished on November 7, 2003 by Nearly Nubile
I was on Sunset Blvd in LA at Tower Records when I heard this album being played in the store. I didnt realize that this chick with the awesome voice was of Portishead. Read morePublished on October 24, 2003 by Eve Fromm
when i heard my favourite female singer had paired with talk talk's paul webb aka mate rustin, mixed by the ole hipster who juggled together the glorious 'spirit of eden', i... Read morePublished on October 10, 2003 by sir vive
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