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Portishead’s first release in six years is an ABBA cover

Portishead are one of my personal all-time favourites, and I, like many others, have been patiently waiting for new material from the trip hop legends for a really, really long time. This weekend saw the release of their first newly recorded track in six years. And it’s a cover of an ABBA song.

Yes, ABBA, the white-clad Swedish four-piece who went from winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 to unprecedented global domination, going on to become one of the most popular and successful groups in history.

Portishead have been busy touring and working on other projects (including soundtracks, intense Black Sabbath covers and Geoff Barrow submitting a remix for Meow The Jewels), but last year they announced they were going to start working on new music. Us fans have been let down numerous times by promises of recording sessions, so I don’t think anybody really held their breath. But now, it looks like that’s all about to change.

Last week, a short and sweet statement appeared on the band’s official website, which has brought glee, and perhaps a little confusion, to many.

“We have contributed a track to the new Ben Wheatley film High Rise which is the Empire Gala at London Film Festival on Friday 9th October at the Odeon Leicester Square.

The track is a cover version of Abba’s SOS.

High Rise stars Sienna Miller, Tom Hiddleston and Elisabeth Moss. It’s based on the JG Ballard book of the same name. An official release date is yet to be announced, but fingers crossed we’ll be able to both watch and listen soon.

We can only hope, nay, pray, that this is the start of new Portishead music. Their last album was 2008’s dazzling Third. 

Here’s the ABBA original:

Now, here’s one of my favourite Portishead tracks. What do you think it’ll sound like?

Portishead – Strangers from Adam Wasowski on Vimeo.

Something of a trend right now, the news follows on from James Blake covering Simon & Garfunkel, and the newly-released Kurt Cobain cover of The Beatles.

By the way, no matter how much you think they’re lame, ABBA hold their own. When we put together a list of musicians who refused to sell out, we discovered that ABBA have turned down ONE BILLION DOLLARS to reunite and tour.