Portishead - Dummy

2010-01-12 | |

Bristol, 1994. A phenomena is about to be released, a album that will cause a band to transcend its genre and become part of hipster parlance for years to come; propelling the band to relative fame. This Mercury Prize winning debut saw off the likes of Oasis, fellow trip-hopper Tricky, and big boys like Van Morrison, to become one of the few albums I'd dub a necessary evolution of British music. Portishead released Dummy.

Portishead's debut was far more than just a necessary evolution in British music, following on from the darkness that was post-punk, with the drug-fuelled addiction of Madchester, to compete with the guitar-addled blight on the face of the country that was Brit-Pop. It had to stand out, and, coming from where it did, it managed that effortlessly. Downtempo, moody, full of an angst that the kids of the early nineties seemed to be searching for in their grunge, it came out of the left field and hit with a big impact.

What can I say personally about it? It's an album that's done a lot for me. It's probably the reason I managed to transcend from Goth to indie, because it was an easy step to go from Portishead's Dummy to the available levels of Post-Rock out in the mid-noughties, like Sigur Ros, who are pretty much pixies doing a happier, mumbly version of trip-hop. It's an album I personally love; without it, where would we be?

It's filled with songs that people need to hear. It's a musical education. Not in the sense that it expands your mind and makes you think about a terribly important period in music, like Rock and Roll or the Blues, but because it's just musically brilliant. Before this, there wasn't anything that really sounded anything like it, as far as I am aware. And after Dummy came out, there seemed to be an explosion of this kind of sound in trip-hop and in gothic electronica. It was genre defining. It was music.

The lowest it gets is the slightest of troughs with Wandering Star and It Could Be Sweet. Even then, they are only a small irrigation ditch, adding to the beauty. Surrounding that are perfect fields of electronic music. So go, and walk amongst them, and enjoy it for what it's worth.

Overall: 10/10 - A defining moment in musical history, or at least in this genre. Without it, there would be a void. It's truly a diamond in the rough; a jewel in the crown of British music. All hail, the Dummy.

Top Track: Biscuit

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