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Portishead’s “The Rip”

Portishead has just announced the next single from Third, and it’s my favorite track on the album, “The Rip.”

Portishead has just announced the next single from Third, and it’s my favorite track on the album, ​“The Rip.” Every time I hear the song, I’m instantly spellbound for its entire length, from the folksy opening reminiscent of Beth Gibbons’ Out Of Season album to her world-weary and spectral vocals to the eerily lulling synth arpeggios that emerge in the song’s final act.

A video for ​“The Rip” was released a few days ago, and while it’s currently offline on Portishead’s site, you can watch a lo-res version of the video courtesy of YouTube.

The video consists of a sketchy, constantly shifting animation reminiscent of Bill Plympton’s work at its ugliest and most grotesque, and depicting a world gone mad and consuming itself. Considering the lyrics — which, the more I read them, the more they seem to be about drug addiction — that isn’t all that inappropriate. But when compared to the other videos in the band’s oeuvre, this one strikes me as a little, well, amateurish.

Personally, I’d just be content to watch footage of the band performing the song, such as this Jools Holland performance:

Gibbons, and the rest of the band, just exude cool here, all dressed up in black and absorbed in their knob-twiddling and whatnot. I think I could watch Gibbons sway in time to those hypnotic synths, whilst draped over her microphone like a funeral shawl, all day long.


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