Listen to ‘Machine Gun’, Portishead’s first single in a decade, and you’ll do well to ignore the fact that it sounds like they’ve spent their hiatus in an isolated industrial warehouse in a former soviet-state. As Beth Gibbons morbidly chants and howls her way through each of the songs five minutes, a drumbeat, which sounds not ironically like a weapon of war, becomes wrapped in a reverberating a sonic embrace. It’s a terrifying combination but one that sounds magnificent as well. And anyway, after ten years in the wilderness, who’s going to argue with Portishead’s decision to go and record an album in it as well - especially when the produce is as good as this.
Released 14/04/08 on Universal.