Massive Attack - Heligoland
Massive Attack’s long-awaited fifth album – their first in seven years – feels more a spiritual successor to the all-star melting pot of UNKLE’s 3D-abetted War Stories than their own last record; the minimalism of 2003’s 100th Window fades in the rear-view as Grant “Daddy G” Marshall returns to the fold with a staggering guest personnel in tow.
Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval and former Tricky muse Martina Topley-Bird quickly distinguish themselves with velvety tones, bringing a much needed vibrancy to the Bristol duo’s post-Protection palette. But those old blues rear their head, both personal (“I want to be clean but I’ve got to get high” – 3D, Rush Minute) and political (”The bankers have bailed, the mighty retreat” – Daddy G, Splitting the Atom).
Heligoland burns slowly; songs like the Damon Albarn penned Saturday Come Slow and dubby closer Atlas Air take precious time to unfurl. Then again, it just wouldn’t be Massive Attack if you didn’t have to work for it, and the rewards are here if you're willing. [Dave Kerr]