A veritable supergroup, this. Beth Gibbons, frontwoman of trip-hop superheroes Portishead has joined forces with Paul Webb of Talk Talk to form Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man. Iíll let you sort out which is which. The two actually met many moons ago, when Gibbons auditioned for the new band Webb was starting at the time, OíRang. They kept in touch and have now finally had a reason to come together. Out Of Season, their debut, was recorded in Devon, Essex and London and its sparse beauty is enhanced by guest appearances from fellow Portisheaders Adrian Utley, John Baggott, and Clive Deamer, as well as Talk Talk team members Simon Edwards and Lee Harris. The first singleìTom The Modelî finds Beth in perfect vocal form, her distinctive signing style shining over the threadbare melodies laid down by the boys. The majority of the album has Gibbons in ë50s mode, her voice the primary aspect of the song, with stripped down backing showcasing her once in a generation voice. Itís not beat-laden like Portishead material, but hearing Gibbonsí torch singer-like renditions is spine-chilling all the same.
JEREMY P. GOLDSTEIN