Portishead breaks silence on fourth album

While Portishead member Adrian Utley has been off scoring silent films with Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory, the other one that’s not Beth Gibbons has been hanging out with his side band Beak>, most recently at Glastonbury. Geoff Barrow sat down backstage with BBC 6 Music News at the English festival and spoke of things Portishead.

Ready for it?

Portishead has signed a new record deal and will be writing its fourth album this summer.

[pause for applause]

That’s right, almost two years after Utley got us over-excited and then Barrow continued to tease us, it finally looks as if the trio is getting the ball rolling on the followup to Third. No release date yet, or release year, for that matter — but Barrow doesn’t expect the album to take a decade to come out. “Hopefully, it’ll be a lot– an awful lot quicker, because we should be older and wiser,” he told 6 Music News.

A sign of the band’s aged wisdom? Without divulging the name, Barrow claims Portishead has signed with “the biggest record company in the world” but will retain every creative freedom. “It’s with people that we really trust,” Barrow said. “They’ve said that we could do what we want.”

Which is comforting, because Portishead has batted three for three so far, and no one wants the seminal trip-hop collective to make its first bad album because of a tyrannical label. “I think we’ve kind of broken, like, the mold of what people expect from us now,” Barrow continued. For a sample of this, recall last year’s “Chase the Tear”, the only material that has come out since Third, and which would fit nowhere on the band’s classic debut Dummy or the self-titled sophomore album.

Barrow hinted last year that the band had some “big plans” for future releases and that they would come “from a different angle,” but who knows what’s changed now that Portishead has signed on with a label. What is certain is Portishead won’t go the Smashing Pumpkins route and release Internet singles every now and then. Fans want an “album as a collection of work,” Barrow said, “and that’s what we’ll give them.”

You can listen to the full BBC interview below.


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