After the uninspiring and monochrome '100th Window', in effect a 3D solo record with guest vocals from the unappealing Sinead O'Connor, I was wondering if Massive Attack had lost their muse. After listening to their fifth LP many times, and it's an album that repays repeated listens, I can categorically say the answer is No.
As others have noted, it's a consistent record. On the one hand, there's only one standout song ('Paradise Circus'), but only one track ('Psyche') truly disappoints. The guests integrate into the Massive Attack project adeptly, and 3D's far more inspired than he was on '100th Window', but perhaps most importantly Daddy G and Horace Andy sound revitalised. Unlike the last record, this one's a team effort. In addition, there are some dissonant beats (it's not all smooth like 'Protection'), and the production is gorgeous - it's a sumptuous sounding record. It doesn't match 'Blue Lines' or 'Mezzanine' - perhaps they never will - but it's a fine record and another reason to love this incredible group.