Portishead - Dummy ©1994 Go! Discs
1. Mysterons
2. Sour Times
3. Strangers
4. It Could Be Sweet
5. Wandering Star
6. It's A Fire
7. Numb
8. Roads
9. Pedestal
10. Biscuit
11. Glory Box

Despite incorporating varied instrumentation and vocal effects, Portishead's Dummy remains a cohesive album. Beth Gibbons' singing is emotive and eclectic, moving from fragile to assertive, veering through Björkdom and even Sarah McLachlanism. The music behind her is warm and spacious, wonderfully and tastefully executed. Its composition ranges from church organ to guitar to programmed beats, and kudos must go to the producer for giving each sound its room and clarity.

The tracks' individual worths are second in importance to the atmosphere this disc manages to assemble and maintain. Make no mistake, though; the songs are great by themselves as well. "Mysterons" and "Wandering Star" are phenomenal, with the latter meeting approval from a black metal friend of mine. I don't much care for "Sour Times", for some odd reason. It seems slightly aggravating to me, although that should be qualified by saying that one of my favourite songs is a few tracks past it. This causes an odd phenomenon, whereby every song before the one I love seems horrid and endless, causing me to first listen to my favourite, returning only then to the start of the disc and playing it right through. It's a minor quibble, really.

I'm not entirely sure how to categorize this disc. I found it in the "alternative" section of my local used CD store, but that doesn't really say anything at all. Rest assured, though: if you enjoy high-quality emotional/spiritual mood music, you should enjoy this.

Review by C. LeRoux

Review date: 07/2000

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