Home > Uncategorized > Glastonbury II – Portishead

Glastonbury II – Portishead

Anyone who knows, knows that Portishead is the best band name in the world. The way it jokes with hip-hop’s gangsta namings of territories and places. The way it plunges Somerset’s most forgetable periurban resort into noteriety. The way it embodies something obscure, English, ordinary — and litoral, sea-edge, escapist. They are also, it should go without saying, the best band in the world. If that were not a pointless term for a loose conglomerate of jazz-musos, hiphop boffins and folkstresses.  One of each, in fact.  

But now, crossing the Levels, the music is more English than I’d previously noticed, too.  More English? More Somerset. The Bristol links are well known: from the Pop Group on, Bristol — with its 300-year-old black community and long history of romantic/contrarian independent culture, Bristol has coined a pop music that fuses genres, techniques, approaches, a music at once urban and laid back.

But Somerset? Here it is. Deceptively pleasant, accessibly bucolic; an easy-listening skin that masks profound strangeness, a twisted other that bears endless melancholic exploration. That’s Portishead.

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