A thoroughly researched exploration of one of the most original, unexpected, and durable British albums of the 1990s.
An album which distilled a genre from the musical, cultural, and social ether, Portishead's Dummy was such a complete artistic achievement that its ubiquitous successes threatened to exhaust its own potential. RJ Wheaton offers an imagistic, in-depth investi
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harborless immensities.
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (quoted by R J Wheaton on page 154)
Years later Dummy sounds strange, filled with horror movie moments, ten songs to soundtrack your own autopsy and a singer who sounds like she's already unsheathed the straight-edge razor and this is the suicide note ("all for nothing" she keens on the first song, "all for nothing"). And the sounds themselves, the music, graf ...more
The parts about samples and inspirations were mildly interesting but there was too much about samples and the actual making of the music for casual fans to keep up with all of it. I liked some of the new things I learned about the band.
There are a lot of interviews with fans talking about how the album touched them at various points in their lives, and for the most part these are interesting, though occasionally a little hamfisted.
At first I was concerned by the layout of the book, as each chapter is split into bite-sized paragraghs, and I really wanted to just sit down and read something with more meat to it. However, as I got on with the book I gradually came around to the style. It actually works really well, with various sections (all subjects being listed at the beginning of each chapter) describing outside influences, people's ...more
I've been an avid reader of the 33 1/3 series for years, and this was one I'd been waiting for for some time. The book really gets to the roots of the album and offers some gr ...more
I'm thinking of doing a blo ...more
All in all, this is probably my favourite 33 1/3-issue so far (next to Jordan Ferguson's amazing book on J Dilla).
What a missed opportunity.
Lately the 33 1/3 series have been surprising me with the high quality of the research involved and Wheaton's book on Portishead's Dummy is no exception. I think it's the thickest book in the series and it's definitely the most informative. This one is up there with the Neutral Milk Hotel and Celine Dion books - it is one of the must haves.
And above everything else, great read.
I completely expected to rotate through a number of books as my attention span waned while the train chugged along. But no, I devoured this one book through 18 hours and cannot count the ways and times I rediscovered an album I was already a big fan of.
I enjoyed every. single. page.