Future Proof / Everywhen / Name Taken / Butterfly Caught Massive attack present their new album "100th window". If you are a fan of massive attack then this may not be what you are expecting upon first listen, but give it a chance you will see how they have evolved their sound
During the 1990s, Massive Attack were simply untouchable as the most groundbreaking British band for decades. Each of their three studio albums preceding 100th Window
were pioneering masterpieces, with 1991's Blue Lines
acclaimed as one of the best British albums of all time. Nowadays, Massive Attack aren't so much a "great band" as a "one-man-band", with Robert "3D" Del Naja the only member of the original trio on this album.
100th Window may be Massive Attack's fourth album (on paper, at least), but it's effectively Del Naja's solo debut. Ironically, 100th Window sounds as distinctly Massive Attack-like as any of its predecessors, except the low, slow raps of Daddy G and Mushroom have been replaced by the fragile voice of Sinead O'Connor. Put simply, 100th Window sounds eerily similar to 1998's Mezzanine; it's dark, broody, intense and, at times, quite uncomfortable, with the odd shimmering ray of light allowed to peep through Del Naja's murky nocturnal soundscapes. Occasionally it sounds like Clannad done in a dubwise style (check the impressive "A Prayer For England" or unlikely single "Special Cases"), at others like a late night trip through Bristol's run-down estates in the company of the Grim Reaper.
With such an impressive back catalogue, 100th Window should have been something new, fresh and original, but as it is it's just another dose of Mezzanine's paranoid broodiness. Of course, 100th Window is still a very good record--no-one does darkness with quite the same warmth and murkiness as Massive Attack--but this isn't half the album it could have been. --Matt Anniss