3 - Portishead – Third

Last.fm brought you Third a week before general release and almost a third of a million of you flocked to listen to it within its first 24hours online. “The Rip”'s drift from haunting acoustic ballad to soaring synth-driven epic has become a favorite among fans, creeping into the band's top five most played songs and receiving huge cheers during the English band's live dates over the year. “Machine Gun” was the bullet-burst first single though. Arresting and abrasive it demanded the listener's attention, and hinted at the sometimes difficult sonic world that Third would display.

After a ten year hiatus the new material was lapped up, and the Bristol band were welcomed warmly into the folds of pop once again. Playing with drum loops, trip hop, fuzzy electronics and field recordings, Portishead returned both familiar and strange, bringing an experience and confidence to their music befitting a band of their stature. Geoff Barrow noted on the band's blog that he “can't wait to write some new tunes”, although given the wait for Third it is unlikely to appear in 2009.

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