Massive Attack’s fifth (their first album for 7 years) sees Grant “Daddy G” Marshall returning from paternity leave to rejoin Rob “3D” Del Naja, plus a host of collaborators. Many will be familiar as Massive Attack regulars (Horace Andy, Martina Topley-Bird), others from elsewhere (Tunde Adebimpe, Damon Albarn, Hope Sandoval, Guy Garvey).
I should do a retro-round-up of previous Massive Attack albums really, but with the exception of Protection (great song, didn’t get the rest of the album) I’ve enjoyed them immensely and I was very impressed to see the band live at the end of last year (2 drum kits – one conventional, one electronic. Gets my vote any day!).
Heligoland (a collection of small islands in the North sea – not sure of the relevance) is a much less darker album than 100th Window or Mezzanine are but denser than Blue Lines. At times it is very beautiful (7. Paradise Circus Feat. Hope Sandoval) at times plodding and layered (10. Atlas), at the beginning it is almost revelatory (1. Pray For Rain Feat. Tunde Adebimpe), lots of nice bass hooks and bleepy electronics feature and if the single Splitting The Atom (3) was a person it would be brooding and slow-walking into doom with a partially covered face.
It’s worth pointing out that the production on the album is absolutely brilliant throughout. Also it takes full advantage of the wide dynamic range of a CD (Metallica’s compressed-firewalled Death Magnetic take note!).
One or two less catchy moments but on the whole very impressive.
4 on 5