34 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Music/ video compiliation of an outstanding influential band,
This review is from: Collected [CD + Dual Disc] (Audio CD)
Why would anyone who already owns all of Massive Attacks music, and what right thinking person wouldn't, would want to own this as well. Okay there is the inclusion of a new song, taken I would presume from their forthcoming new album "Weather Underground". Featuring vocals from Terry Callier ," Live With Me" is a return , after the gloomily innervated "100th Window" to the more fertile expansive soul of their earlier material and is a tantalising precursor for that new album.
Still I reckon anyone who owns "Blue Lines ", Protection", "Mezzanine" and "100th Window" will be buying the new release anyway so what is on "Collected "worth making them part with their presumably hard earned cash? Well on the bonus disc there are some extra tracks of which the track that reunites the band with the magisterial goddess Liz Fraser "Silent Spring" is worth the asking price alone. As a contractual obligation the band could have lazily chucked out a selection of tracks on a single disc and promptly forgot about it, (Which to some extent they have done on a single disc version of this album) but for this limited double disc edition real thought has gone into the package. The bonus disc flip side is a DVD selection of their promos. The utterly magnificent "Unfinished Sympathy ", which if some heinous cackling loon was to hold a gun to my knees and enquire as to my choice, would be my favourite single of the last 25 years, is ravishing enough as a song but allied to those images of Shara Nelson strolling purposefully round the streets takes on a wounded but uplifting tone that it's impossible to tire of. Shot in one take it's an astonishing fusion of sound and image. For that matter so is the pulsing corporeal "Teardrop's foetus, with the camera gliding gracefully round as Liz Fraser's beatific vocals soars as only hers can. Another is the languorous sashay round a studio built tower block for the video to "Protection " where Tracy Thorn, an inspired choice , lends her prosaic yet oddly affecting vocals to the songs aqueous rhythms and dappled textures.
Everybody, as is always the case with collections of this nature, will have a gripe about tracks that haven't been included. Mine is the exclusion of " Hymn Of The Big Wheel " and "Man Next Door" but to please everybody they would have had to re-release their entire back catalogue which would have defeated the point I would think. Still there are the swampy syncopated beats of "Karmacona" and the dub based "Five Man Army" featuring Tricky, the other track with the sublime vocals of Shara Nelson, the elegant "Safe From Harm" and "Sly" with Nicolette, whose sultry smoky purr lends the song an n insidious erotic frisson. "Mezzanines" drift towards a harder caustic edge courtesy of founding member Robert "3D" Del Naja,s increasing prominence in the band is represented by the broiling "Risingson" the claustrophobic "Inertia Creeps" and "Angel" which many feel is compromised by its, layers of dank guitar which I feel give the song an atmosphere of malevolent tension. The stuff from "100 the Window "palls in comparison. It always did, but placed here in such close proximity to their ravishing best it sounds even more sketchy and fraught. "Butterfly Caught" is alluring enough in an avant- garde whistling in the dark kind of way.
The history of Massive Attack has been invigilated with tension which has seen the band suffer numerous crisis points with Grant "Daddy G" Marshall opting out of the studio for the recording of the last album, though he is now happily back in the fold. They have had to change their name during the time of the first Gulf War, to a simple Massive, and their output is after 15 years fairly meagre. But the quality quotient is admirably high and there is no doubt that they have been a massive, forgive the pun, sometimes deleterious influence on music itself. Look at the bands that have a blueprint of the Massive Attack sound in their work. Portishead, Gorillaz, Bjork Morcheeba to name a handful and you can hear their authority in work by Madonna and Radiohead. Massive Attack, a truly outstanding British band. Long may their poignant/ claustrophobic/ frosty / mournful / pioneering symphony continue.