It Could Be Sweet
It's a Fire
Portishead’s Geoff Barrow hates the “trip-hop” tag that’s stuck fast to his band since this outstanding debut. You can see his point: a record as compellingly discomfiting as Dummy seems at odds with a movement that spawned multiple chill-out albums. Its noir, precisely layered sound—tranquilized hip-hop beats, haunted strings, and tortured guitar lines—is given soul by Beth Gibbons’s voice. Bruised, elegant, and confessional, she suggests a faded actress spilling her heart into a dressing room mirror on the exquisitely sad “Sour Times” and “Glory Box”.