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Massive Attack Heligoland

8 Februaruy 2010

Producer Neil Davidge, Massive Attack
Label Virgin
Length 52:31
Genre Electronica
Website massiveattack.com

The Bristol boys are back with Heligoland. This album marks a return to form after the somewhat derivative 100th WindowHeligoland is at first an alien sound compared to their previous outing, the tracks are stripped and melodic. None of the stuffy overproduction that seemed to sap the energy from 100th Window is evident here. In its stead Massive Attack seem to have found new life and energy as can be heard right from the first track ‘Pray for Rain’. Featuring TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, the song seems to comment on the transitive nature of man from God fearing to Science fearing beings and the fleeting glimpse we have of the whole. The music is very well constructed with a melodic bass line framed by deep piano chords all backed by a slightly tribal beat. The final third is transmuted by a sublime synth line into a delightful key change only to come full circle right back to the beginning. Everything remains understated and wholly organic as opposed to the predictable explosiveness that featured on both Mezzanine and 100th Window. The album is, of course, helped by all the guest vocals. From long time collaborator Horace Andy to Elbow frontman Guy Garvey, every performance enhances the cut back sound. The only bad point is the instantly forgettable ‘Saturday Come Slow’ featuring Damon Albarn.

Overall an emphatic return to form and an album, which grows with repeated listening. They seem to have burrowed deep these past years until they eventually hit bedrock and now they have a firm base they can grow and flourish as Heligoland proves.

- Gary McDonough