Massive Attack – Heligoland

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Massive Attack’s new album, Heligoland came out today!!! In case you couldn’t tell, I’m just a wee bit excited. It’s gonna be a great week (or couple of weeks), folks! There’s so much new stuff coming out and people coming out of the woodwork. Ooooh, it’s gonna be good, so stay tuned.

Anyway, on to today’s album at hand, Massive Attack’s Heligoland. After seven long years, the Bristol collaboration has released their fifth studio album, named after the German archipelago and it is pretty damn sweet.

After 100th Window, I have to admit that I was a little concerned for the once threesome that was Massive Attack. They were disappearing literally and figuratively. Down to just Robert “3D” del Naja, this album was barely a whisper after the bang that was the guitar laden Mezzanine.

This album is liquid trip hop, fluid yet synthetic in only ways that Massive Attack can manage. They were on the forefront of trip-hop, paving the way with artists like Portishead (Adrian Utley stops by for a collab on Heligoland, BTW) and Tricky. This album is beautiful. Utterly, amazingly beautiful.

Once again, it’s got the all star cast that Massive Attack has no trouble rousting about, including long time collaborator Horace Andy, Tunde Adebimpe of TV On The Radio, Damon Albarn of Gorillaz,  Hope Sandoval, Guy Garvey of Elbow and Martina Topley-Bird. And that’s just the vocalists. In the way of musicians, they have Portishead collaborator John Baggott, Neil Davidge, and Billy Fuller of Beak.

It’s shaping up to have all of the elements that make me love Massive Attack…breathy vocals, distorted guitar, lavish string arrangements, flourishes of grand piano, and shifting basslines. The combination of reggae and trip hop beats is always just…perfect. It’s deliciously experimental. While electronic, it’s certainly not a dance album. This album is something else entirely. It’s velvet for the ears.

I’m so glad that after seven years, this album didn’t suck. I was really afraid of a Trent Reznor situation (aka: long break then everything seriously sucking for…well, ever, after that).

And you know what…after all of that, the deluxe second disc of this album is EVEN BETTER. The six track remix album features mixes by Gui Borrato, Tim Goldsworthy, Ryuichi Sakamoto & Yukihiro Takahashi, She Is Danger, and Breakage. Gui Borrato’s mix of “Paradise Circus” is just…sick. It’s sick. It’s awesome. Slamming, sexy beats. Mmmm. Definitely check out this album AND the remix disc. I don’t think one would be nearly as good without the other. It’s the peanut butter and jelly of Massive Attack’s career. B

“Paradise Circus” (Gui Boratto Dub)


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