Dummy [CD 1994]
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Dummy (Non UK Version)
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Top Customer Reviews
Dark and moody, much of the album sounds like a memory...of a place you've been once, or a movie you saw, or music you heard as you drove by an open window or door late one night in the city. Some of it is incredibly sexy (like "Numb," "Pedestal," and the awesome "Glory Box"), other parts are mournful (like "Biscuit," "Sour Times," "It's a Fire," and "It Could Be Sweet"), and still more are mysterious or just plain funky ("Mysterions" and "Strangers").
It's really hard to pick a favorite song on this album...almost all of them perfectly fit different moods I have at different times. They seem to encompass an incredibly vast range of modern urban sensitivities. "Sour Times" is, of course, wonderfully reminiscent of a moody classic spy flick while a song like "Strangers" bounces back and forth between an intense, pulsing beat like a walk through the club district of a large city and gentle, delicate interludes like the dawn over the Sea of Japan.
My least favorite is "Wandering Star," which I think is a bit too repetative, but even that I'm willing to listen to without much complaint.
Smoothly sexy, definitely modern, and particularly urban, *Dummy* is a classic and well worth your time and money.
Portishead easily draw you into their lonely world, and their ambient trip-hop entices you to stay. Songs like "Numb" and "Biscuit" are dark trances enduced by the combination of hip-hop, mellow guitars, and a variety of samples coated by Gibbon's desperate pleas for salvation. Hearing her cry, "Nobody loves me, it's true" (from the superhit "Sour Times") is enough to tear at anyone's heart.
On "Roads" - a track already enveloped in sorrowful elegant strings - Gibbon's soprano trembles with pain. However, the twisted lounge acts, "Strangers" and "Pedestal" feature very soulful and powerful vocals accompanied by some excellent jazz performances.
The last track, "Glory Box", is Portishead in full blow. Over a sample from Isaac Hayes' "Ike's Rap III" and a slinky blues guitar, Gibbons duels with herself as she tries to justify a relationship. She first comes off as a contemptuous Billie Holiday and then switches back to her sweet, sad self as she pleads, "Give me a reason to love you/ I just want to be a woman."
By all means, Dummy is an essential album for trip-hop fans and beginners. A definite keeper.
Mysterons steals into your consciousness like an electronic dream, but it is Sour Times that really kicks you awake, full-on John Barryesque orchestration attacks your senses, providing Beth with a backdrop to enchant you with her siren's song, "Nobody loves me, it's true - not like you do". The album descends into the depths for much of the middle period, Wandering Star and Numb darkly funereal shards of fear and despair. Then there is Roads, the album's masterpiece. As Beth croons "Can't anybody see, we've got a war to fight" the violins slowly build into an unbearably beautiful torchsong which tries to steal your heart, and very nearly succeeds. Pedestal and Biscuit are the comedown, the 3am stoned lullabies. Then, just as you're drifting off to another world, Glorybox glides into focus, Beth in full Eartha Kitt mode, imploring someone "Give me a reason to love you, give me a reason to be a woman". A fantastically drunken guitar solo then ushers in a change of pace, a crash of drums and a promise: "This is the beginning of forever and ever..." As Isaac Hayes' strings fade into the dawn and if you've been paying attention, I defy you not to feel a little fragile.
Portishead is different though. Beth Gibbons backs up the dark music and lyrical gloom with the most beuatifully raspy alto I've ever heard. There are more samples than I can possibly count but they all seem to blend together so tightly that you could swear that this album was recorded by studio musicians (I meant that as a compliment). Theyre self titled album is great too, but i dont think that it or any other album in the genre could ever surpass Dummy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bummed out because the record is warped. 2 songs skip but I don't feel like returning it. I am playing on a 90's technic turntable as well. Oh well.Published 1 month ago by TheRealCardz
Classic album from highschool for me. Vocals are still on point and the quality of the record is just superb. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Tiodamus