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Last Updated: Friday, 14 March 2008, 19:32 GMT
Portishead positive despite delay
Portishead live
The band won the 1995 Mercury Prize for debut Dummy
A member of British band Portishead has spoken of the long delay in finishing their new album, Third, but that it was a "positive" experience.

Guitarist Adrian Utley told the BBC the group were exhausted after completing a world tour in 1998.

Utley said the group did not want to repeat the sound of their first two albums on the new record, released 10 years after their last album.

He said the band "went into meltdown" after the tour had finished.

'Long time'

But he said despite the delays in finishing the record - completed after four years of sessions amid the band members' other projects - it was "a positive experience", especially compared with recording second album, 1997's Portishead.

He said: "With the second record, it was a hellish time - this wasn't a hellish time. It just took a long time."

The Bristol-based trio, which also includes singer Beth Gibbons and multi-instrumentalist Geoff Barrow, released debut album Dummy in 1994.

The album, which featured spy film strings, theremins and samples from esoteric soundtracks amid breakbeats and DJ scratches, won them the Mercury Prize in 1995 and popularised the languid sound of trip-hop.

But after recording their second album and releasing a live album, Utley said the band reached a creative block.

Portishead in Bristol (taken by Orynthia Thomas)
The band have played only sporadically since 1998

"There was pressure internally - there was a sense of 'got to get it done, got to get it done'.

"We went on to do a huge tour for a year and headlined loads of festivals because The Verve had split up that year. It was insanity really."

He said: "It was ridiculously full on, considering we wanted to play to 500 people."

Both Utley and Barrow split from their wives after recording sessions for Third started.

"Those years were quite dark from then on," he added.

"There was possibly a time where I thought we might not get it done. But it wasn't the dominating thought over those four years."

The new album, the band's third studio LP, will be released on 28 April.

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