Posted by Ian
On Adam and Joe’s superb 6 Music show the other week, the pair observed slyly just how well-timed is the release of Portishead’s new album.
It’s the group’s first LP for 11 years – the first since their Britpop-buoyed emergence in the mid-90s when no discerning CD collection was without a copy of ‘Dummy’ and its ubiquitous single ‘Sour Times’. It’s also arrived, as Adam and Joe noted, in an atmosphere of economic kerfuffle and financial unease…just like the mid-90s, in fact, when the UK was groping its way through a currency crisis and all-round doom and gloom.
Portishead: The Recession-Friendly Band! They’ve consulted the stock markets and concluded that, yup, now is the time for another long-player of eerie bleeps and whispered high-pitched trilling.
Trouble is, Portishead are also a totem of, how can I put this, Tory Britain. They arrived in the midst and mayhem of John Major’s administration…and now they’re back, just as the papers are full of how the Conservatives are also back and set to ‘trounce’ Labour at the next general election. Ulp.
In the wake of the local elections several of us in the office remarked on how weird – and unsettling – it was to hear news reports on the TV chanting ‘the Tories have gained’ this and ‘the Tories have taken’ that. It took us right back to our childhoods, and in particular the 1980s.
Has everyone forgotten just what that decade was like? The best of times for some; sour times for others.