America. nearly caused a riot in the Acoustic 'l‘ent at (ilastonbury l‘estival and picked up a {25.000 Mercury Pri/e l'or the album. But it was during the painful process ol‘ recording the l'ollow-up that l’ortishead came perilously close to completely unravelling.

‘I got into analysing everything I'd done in the past and what I needed to do in the l‘utut‘e and things slowly began to go down hill l'rom there.’ Barrow recalls. ‘Beth was doing a massive amount ol‘ writing but was really depressed about it. I wasn't happy with anything anyone in the band was coming up with. She was massively questioning whether she‘d lost it. I was massiver questioning whether I‘d lost it and ljust shut down to the point where I didn‘t say anything to anybody for weeks.‘

l)ummy’s status as one ol' the decade's more essential col'l‘ee table accessories did little to alleviate the rapidly circling sense ol‘ melancholy in the Portishead camp. 'l’eople would say things like:

rile -. Hui..." . .§.'4 iliC lll

it was being “turned into muzak.’

"We're haying a l'ondue party on l-‘riday night and we're playing the Portishead album". ' says Barrow. ‘I'd put so much ol‘ my lil‘e into something and it was being turned into muzak.’

And it‘s true that I’m-lis/u'm/ (the album. not the band or the town) while not disappointing anyone who bought Dummy. certainly makes a distinct roughening up ol‘ the band’s sound. Barrow‘s strict ‘no samples‘ rule meant the band had to record then sample their own sounds. But it also means they can translate the record even more effectively into a live setting: a lact proved in sortie style by a New York showcase gig in July. soon to be released as a live video.

Barrow feels the band have confidently overcome what was a premature. though very real. mid—lil‘e crisis for l’ortishead. And. as they embark on only their second full l'K tour. one unerring constant remains Beth (iibbons‘s utter rel'usal to conduct any interviews. not even with T/H’ List.

‘Don‘t take it personally.‘ laughs Barrow. ‘She can't stand the music industry basically. She just likes to be around normal people doing normal things and hates the whole idea ol' someone judging her within an hour because she puts so much ol‘ herself into her music.‘

Portishead are at Barrowland, Glasgow, Thu 20 Nov. Their new single ‘Over' is released on Mon 11 Nov. See Glasgow rock listings.

GLASGOW Pavilion Theatre


7—20 NOV 1997 THE “ST 15

the sunshine gang: Portishead have overcome their identity crisis