Portishead Dummy (London) It's scary to think that this album was heralded as one of the pioneers of trip-hop a whole decade ago. Ten years on, it sounds more trip than hop. This band have come from the hub of the laid-back genre - Bristol, England - but its sound has always been its own. While it may owe a lot to sound mixing - understated loops, samples and scratches - there's never any rap. Portishead's vocals are the exclusive domain of Beth Gibbons, whose fragile range dips between the angelic and the depressed Dummy is not a depressing album. Many of its tracks are down-tempo but there is often an element of humour. The band was obviously fascinated by the theme tunes for the 1960s cult classic TV puppet show Captain Scarlet and James Bond movies. Opening track, Mysterons, is a tongue-in-cheek homage to the dark forces in Captain Scarlet, while several tracks would suit any 007 flick. This is especially so with Sour Times, with its smouldering drum and bass line and exotic strings. Gibbons gets quite soulful on It's A Fire, but in a calm and controlled way. Guitars, likewise, crank up, but only to a point on a couple of tracks. Dummy is still a good alternative to the less instrument-oriented 'chill-out' variety.