[[caption-width-right:300: Making soundtracks for imaginary FilmNoir spy movie fever dreams since 1994]]

The other famous TripHop band from Bristol that helped [[TropeCodifier codify]] and popularize the genre alongside Music/MassiveAttack. Portishead have been rolling around the music scene since 1991, and named themselves after a town eight miles west of Bristol. The band consists of the following members:

* Beth Gibbons - vocals, occasional guitar
* Geoff Barrow - RecordProducer, DJ, sampler, keyboards, drums, multiple instruments
* Adrian Utley - guitar, bass, keyboards

Dave [=McDonald=] is occasionally named their "fourth member", having served as engineer and producer and occasionally contributed instruments on all their albums.

Portishead's famous SignatureStyle is a combination of hip hop-inspired breakbeats, dense productions, Utley's distorted guitars, influences from spy film soundtracks, samples, and Gibbons' haunting vocals. Their music is only enhanced by their FilmNoir-influenced aesthetics and {{Surreal Music Video}}s. These elements brought them critical and commercial success right out the gate with their debut ''Music/{{Dummy}}'', but ever since they've pursued a harsher, more dissonant DarkerAndEdgier sound marked by claustrophobia, heavy distortion, and industrial influences on their future albums, ''Portishead'' and ''Third''.

In 1994 they made a short film titled ''To Kill a Dead Man'', which they wrote and acted in. They're also infamous for taking a long time to make albums, a trait shared by their fellow Bristolians Massive Attack -- they were on a long hiatus between 1999-2005.

* ''Music/{{Dummy}}'' (1994)
* ''Portishead'' (1997)
* ''Roseland NYC Live'' (1998) - live album
* ''Third'' (2008)

!! Portishead contains instances of the following tropes:

* AccentuateTheNegative: Their music is very gloomy. Taken UpToEleven on [[DarkerAndEdgier Third]].
* AlbumTitleDrop: Referenced in the very first sentence on Third, albeit in Portuguese:
--> "Esteja alerta para a regra dos três / Beware the Rule of Three"
* CreepyChild: The girl in the video for "All Mine."
* DarkerAndEdgier: Every record after ''Dummy''. While the lyrics don't get any more melancholy, the sound gets darker (''Third'''s beat was a lot more industrial).
* FakeGuestStar: Utley is not officially signed on with the band and is technically a guest contributor on each album, but everyone considers him a full-time member of the group.
* GratuitousForeignLanguage: The spoken Portuguese at the beginning of "Silence".
* GratuitousPanning: All of their videos.
* InTheStyleOf: "We Carry On" is a tribute to '60s electronic pioneers Silver Apples, who returned the favour by covering it in their live sets.
* LastNoteNightmare: "Silence" ends in, well... Silence.
* MindScrew: Their short film ''To Kill a Dead Man''. It's a spy film with no dialogue and nightmarish, paranoid imagery.
* MoodWhiplash:
** "Deep Waters" in the middle of ''Third'', which is a Hawaiian tune about a girl choosing to face her fears.
** "Glory Box" is either a woman asking her husband to be a bit more caring and loving, or a cheating woman tired of cheating man asking the same question. Either way, the lyrics -- and music, somewhat -- aren't as sad as the rest of the songs on the album.
* MoreDakka: "Machine Gun" uses percussion to audibly apply this effect, though the song itself has nothing to do with the trope. This was used to good effect in the VideoGame/MetroLastLight [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Su1djPuvDnw trailer]], with the beats syncing up to gunfire.
* NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly: They're classified as "trip-hop", but they're more if Music/NineInchNails was a jazz band instead and if ''Trent Reznor'' was a middle-aged woman -- there's not much rapping going on, compared to Music/MassiveAttack.
* NewSoundAlbum: ''Portishead'' and ''Third''.
* NonAppearingTitle: A favorite trope of theirs.
* {{Retraux}}: ''To Kill a Dead Man'', styled after FilmNoir and [[SpyFiction spy films]].
* {{Sampling}}: From old spy film soundtracks, soul and jazz singles and, on ''Portishead'', original material created by Barrow and Utley.
* SmokingIsCool: Beth Gibbons is such a chain smoker that she is seldom seen without a cigarette during performances.
* SurrealMusicVideo: Most of their videos.
* {{Theremin}}: Played by Utley on "Mysterons". "Humming" also has a Theremin-ish sound, but that's actually a Moog. Both get used if -- and when -- they do play live.
* UncommonTime: A few songs on ''Third'' are in unusual time signatures. The song 'Small', for example, is partly in 11/4 time.
* WholesomeCrossdresser: Everyone in the video for "Glory Box."