Portishead – Dummy (1994)

Perhaps the passing of time hasn’t been kind to this debut album by the British outfit, but I was disappointed by “Dummy.” I’ve heard of this album for years and knew some of its tracks, like “Mysterons” and “Sour Times,” that I found absolutely fascinating. The addition of a vocalist like Debbie Gibbons, with a sweet, thin but affecting voice that almost counters the darkness and hopelessness of the beats, makes for a surprisingly compelling contrast between the cold, aloof music and the warmth of the vocals. But ultimately the album seems to fold onto itself by the halfway point and its sound become interchangeable, and by the time it reaches its climax it’s hard to differentiate between the songs. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that I was disappointed in the homogeneity of its sonic landscape.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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