Posted on February 18th, 2010 (11:13 am) by D Arcy Benincosa

The opening song, “Pray For Rain” echoes the sounds and waves of the love scene between Neo and Trinity in Matrix Reloaded, without the leather. It’s somehow super-sexy-hot, while being melancholic and life-questioning all in one. It’s the perfect song to put on if you find yourself in a more-than-complicated relationship. The song itself is a microcosm of sexuality: building, rising, falling, climaxing, and repeating. It’s hitting the beat that Massive Attack does best, and some might even say it’s better than chocolate. As an added bonus TV On The Radio’s very own Tunde Adebimpe contributes vocals to the track.

Massive Attack, comprised of the Daddy G and 3D, put out their last studio album back in 2003. That’s a good seven years since we’ve heard anything new, but they haven’t been vacationing. Touring, songwriting, and collaborating have given them the time to craft their latest efforts, in which they have featured five guest singers throughout the album’s tracks. While the songs with male vocalists are uniformly strong, the three tracks that feature women on vocals swell with purpose and artistry.

Two of the album’s best songs feature Topley-Bird. She appears first on track two, “Babel.” Her sultry singing fits like a glove over the hand of Massive Attack’s style. The band has long been known and appreciated for their shifting basslines, heavy synth guitars, looped sounds, and sonic techniques. The unique psychedelic style has made them a hard pair to pigeonhole to any one type of sound. They pride themselves on being unpredictable with each song and adding a varied array of singers. The changing energy each new voice brings to the table makes the collaborations a brilliant move on their part. The duo has proven, once again, that they defy any label you would want to put on them.

Topley-Bird again makes a golden sound on “Psyche.” The opening string of sounds is enough to draw you in to this world of repetitive electro-synth. However, perhaps the crowning glory of the album, and the song that truly does take you out of this world, is “Paradise Circle,” featuring the glowing vocals of Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval. The sweetest sound of the song, other than the vocals, is the surreptitious handclapping that calls you to be a part of the beat in that most simple way that all humans can (unless you, um, don’t have hands). Just try and NOT join in. It’s virtually impossible. Listening to the track is a hypnotic experience.

Heligoland means “Holy Land” in German and is actually a tiny string of islands in the North Sea. Looking at a map, the islands are so close together that you can imagine that your legs just might be long enough to hop from one island to the next—with only a giant, but graceful, leap. The tracks of the album feel like those holy lands. Leaping from one song to the next, attached somehow, like islands, sharing a core, but fully separate. The album proves that, with twenty years of creating under their belts, the Bristol trip-hoppers are still attacking the world of music in the most massive of manners.

Track List:
1. Pray For Rain
2. Babel
3. Splitting The Atom
4. Girl I Love You
5. Psyche
6. Flat Of The Blade
7. Paradise Circus
8. Rush Minute
9. Saturday Come Slow
10. Atlas Air

Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

75 / 100
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