After many years of anticipation, Portishead’s legendary frontwoman Beth Gibbons has returned with news of her brand new solo album, Lives Outgrown, out May 17th on Domino. And now we have a first single in the form of “Floating on a Moment”.
Starting out atop a cyclical, slowly plucked guitar progression, Gibbons’s trademark quavering voice — that perfectly weathered instrument that routinely reveals deep wells of emotion, often with just a handful of syllables — ushers us right back to her world. The sound patiently builds on more layers, like mysterious keys, harpsichord, and eventually a choir. Gibbons’s lyrics find her ruminating on the idea that “all we have is now”, and that our lives are really but a small moment in the grand scheme of things.
It isn’t the most groundbreaking thing Gibbons has been a part of, but it is a nice reminder that her power as a singer and artist doesn’t diminish under more minimal, folky instrumentation, as she proved 22 (!) years ago on her only other non-Portishead record, Out of Season (a collaboration with Rustin Man). If “Floating on a Moment” is any indication of Lives Outgrown as a whole, fans are in for another set of dusky, spare explorations of the human condition, delivered by one of music’s all-time greatest voices.