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Music

Listen to Portishead's bizarre cover of ABBA

In 2015, Bristol trip-hop legends Portishead recorded a one-off cover of ABBA’s ‘SOS’ for director Ben Wheatley’s film High-Rise. The song has remained a hidden gem of sorts because the band opted to keep it away from major streaming platforms. 

Last year, Portishead finally decided to release the song to the wider audience but released it exclusively on SoundCloud. They chose this option as opposed to releasing to giants like Spotify or Apple Music because of SoundCloud’s more ethical fan-powered royalties model. 

“When we heard that SoundCloud switched to a fairer user-centric payment system of streaming music, we were happy to make it the only place to stream our unreleased version of ABBA’s ‘SOS’,” said band member Geoff Barrow. “After recording it years ago for Ben Wheatley’s film High-Rise, we are excited to finally share it with the world, and we are even more excited that all streaming profits are going to a great cause.”

“Portishead’s timeless sound has inspired countless artists and given rise to many emerging genres on SoundCloud,” Michael Pelczynski, Head of Content & Rightsholder Strategy at SoundCloud commented. “We are honoured Portishead chose SoundCloud, the only platform where the artist to fan connection is directly rewarded, as the first place to exclusively release their cover of this iconic song.”

Portishead have long been known for their generous nature. When releasing ‘SOS’ on SoundCloud, they announced that all proceeds would be donated to the mental health charity, ‘Mind’. 

The trio haven’t performed live together in seven years and it has been 14 years since their last album, Third, was released. Naturally, fans have become restless over these years wondering if and when new material might come. 

This year, a glimmer of hope has come with the group reunifying for a short set at Bristol’s O2 alongside several other acts in a special fundraiser for the people of Ukraine. While the band haven’t hinted at any further performances or new material, it gives us hope that the members are still on good terms. 

Listen to Portishead’s eerie cover of ABBA’s ‘SOS’ below.