1994 looks dark. Maybe it was dropping out of my Masters and taking coy steps into the record industry in forbidding London. Maybe it was the dawn of clog-footed Britpop. Maybe it was four months of Wet Wet Wet.
Or maybe it was the magnificently maudlin Portishead, introducing a refined and bleak take on the Massive Attack template, woefully misplaced on the coffee table yet a mainstay there all the same. It may boast gnomic lyrics, but ‘Sour Times’ is so steeped in woe-is-me and chilly zithers that it seems pretty clear where Beth Gibbons’ head’s at. Still, while the desperate “Nobody loves me” might come on like a tiresome whinge, it’s immediately undercut by “… not like you do”. Relief! She does have someone after all! Not that it sounds like a bed of roses. “After time, the bitter taste… Scattered seed, buried lives…”
Dummy’s a beast of an album, as I told Junior. She mulled it over, mesmerised by the sleeve. “Is it a beast? Is it scary?” Well, yes, it is a bit; it’s not one for the fragile listener. I wondered whether she liked the song and she murmured, “I don’t know.”