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Album Review

by Massive Attack


Review Date
16th March 2010
Reviewed by

I was never a fan of Massive Attack in their mid 90’s heyday, so when I read reviews of their latest offering, “Heligoland” and the comments of ‘this is no Protection or Mezzanine’; I really had nothing to compare it to – which is a good thing when reviewing an album!

“Heligoland” hosts a fine array of guest musicians, writers and vocalists who join mainstay duo 3D and Daddy G on a dark, melodic trip of chilled-out trip-hop merged with electronica and industrial. This is intense stuff – in a good way!

TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe lends his vocals to opening track, “Pray for Rain”, some cool synth pops in half way through and the song increases in intensity, other than that, this definitely wasn’t a life-changing song for me. Things look up with one of my favourites, “Splitting the Atom” which sounds like the love child of Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. Damon Albarn and Horace Andy sing on this stomping, sinister track which wouldn’t be out of place in a seedy nightclub. It plods along with a great clap sample and is very atmospheric and hypnotic.

“Girl I Love You”, wow, what a song! It melds great string synths, industrial beat bursts, bubbling bass line and horns, paired with Horace’s great stuttering-style of singing. Are we sure Mr Reznor wasn’t hiding in the studio fiddling with buttons on this track?! “Flat of the Blade” is worth a mention for the total weirdness of this song. Albarn again takes the mic in this disturbing repetition of sounds – bleeps, fuzzy programming, a twisted brass section and Albarn’s clear vocal style almost ‘sits over’ the music.

“Rush Minute” is a thought-provoking number that is like a story being told through music – A journey of sound, waves of noise, guitar, drums and seamless piano all merge together organically. Beautiful. “Saturday Come Slow” is abit Blur-sounding for me. I love Blur, but it seems abit out of place, Damon strumming the guitar, yelping ‘do you love me?’ The best for last! “Atlas Air” – a brilliant track with a trilling synth line and then intense squeaky keyboards, it’s a dark little song that will please both new Massive Attack fans and old.

Massive Attack prove they are still true pioneers in the world of ‘noise-making’ and I certainly have a new respect for them. This is a brilliant album. 9/10 from me.

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