British trip-hop band Portishead achieved international success in 1994 with their album Dummy. The duo of multi-instrumentalist Geoff Barrow and singer Beth Gibbons was born in Bristol in 1991, not far from the Somerset township from which it takes its name. Already known for his work with Massive Attack, Neneh Cherry and Tricky, Geoff Barrow welcomed studio guitarist Adrian Utley and sound engineer Dave McDonald to his new project. After scoring a short film entitled To Kill a Dead Man, Portishead set about recording the album Dummy for the independent label Go! Discs for the album Dummy (1994), which enjoyed unexpected international success and contributed to the rise of the trip-hop genre with its iconic tracks "Numb", "Sour Times" and above all "Glory Box", which reached No. 13 in the UK charts and was used extensively in film and television. Ranked No. 2 in the UK, Dummy went on to win the Mercury Prize the following year, while the band prepared their second album in the studio. Released in 1997 as Portishead, it claimed the same position in the U.K. and reached No. 21 in the U.S., despite lower sales. Whereas several tracks on the previous album were based on samples, only "Only You" uses borrowed material. In 1998, the live album Roseland NYC Live saw the band accompanied by a thirty-five-piece orchestra for a concert at New York's Roseland Ballroom on July 24, 1997. After touring a number of festivals, the band took a break, giving way to the personal projects of its members, notably Beth Gibbons, who in 2002 unveiled the album Out of Season, recorded with Rustin Man. Back on stage in 2005 for a charity concert, then in 2007 at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival, where the band was honored, Portishead unveiled their long-awaited third album, Third, in 2008, moving away from electronic trip-hop towards a more experimental music, between krautrock influences and post-rock revival. Acclaimed by specialist critics, it performed well in the charts, reaching No. 2 in the UK and No. 7 in the USA. Since then, Portishead have become rarer, distilling a few unreleased tracks such as "Chase the Tear" in 2009 or the cover of ABBA's "SOS" in 2016, and reappearing on stage in 2022.

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