Portishead fans, especially veterans who battled through the decade-plus wait between the self-titled album and the release of Third, know that Portishead-land is plagued by droughts, slow gestations, and tortuous interludes between spurts of new music. Fortunately, now is a relatively lush time for the work of Geoff Barrow and Beth Gibbons: having curated and played a few festivals this summer, Portishead is now getting set to kick off a North American tour and are talking about new music next year.
But we haven’t seen anything new just yet. So consider yourself beholden to Damscray — Russian dystopia and cosmic wardrobe enthusiast, and one half of his own dark music duo, Demokracy — who now offers his metamorphosis of Portishead’s “Roads.” Originally on Dummy waaaaaaaay back in 1994, “Roads” was a synth-draped, trembling ode to wrong-feeling; Damscray’s juked-out version is a veritable and very-good stutter, complete with rump-slapping back beat. Didn’t see that coming? Damscray knows you didn’t, and so does robot Beth Gibbons, who throughout the track repeats a taunting and glitchy “can’t see” until her eventual disintegration.