This album is not going to be liked by all fans of Massive Attack, or at least not right away. The depth of music of Blue Lines or Protection, or the intensity of Mezzanine seems to be lacking here, although probably everyone will notice that the music is stronger that anything we have heard from Massive Attack in the last 12 years. I would dare suggest that the depth of music is still here, but it has been...relocated. Miles Davis once said that his musical style kept changing on him, just like a curse. Well, after 16 years in business Massive Attack has gone experimental, atmospheric and minimalist all at once. However, all those changes affect mostly the added layers of the background of their music.
I have to say honestly that I have been disillusioned with a lot of new music of various styles, lately, and this new album by Massive Attack to me is one of the nicest musical surprises of the last many months, ever since Porcupine Tree's The Incident was released. The incorporation of the experimental ambient layers of sound in addition to the industrial tones which for a long time have been with Massive Attack makes this album unique to me. The overall mood is mellow, peaceful and reflective but it spreads over a wide sound texture. These songs may sound simple and plain at first, but they do grow on us with repetitive listening. I really feel like with this album the music of Massive Attack positioned itself somewhere between Massive Attack and Radiohead, and that is a perfect place to be in. Really, the Zoviet France like undertones of a few of their new songs (this album hides many jewels in the back of itself and its songs) are exactly the layers which make the music of Radiohead so addictive. The song number 7 for example, reminds me a little bit of Radiohead's Videotape.
I especially like tracks: 8,5,7,9,10,1. Track 1 begins like cover of some bluesy Peter Green song from In The Skies, and then progresses into many different stages and layers. Track 2 is driven by a Joy Division like sounding bass and drum line and it is one of the most energetic songs of the album. Track 3 develops one of the most haunting atmospheric background melodies. Track 4 is full of texture which again, is located at the final minute of a song, a very Radiohead like approach. Track 5 has a Steve Reich like repetitive feeling to it. It is quite beautifully structured with a skillfully interwoven vocal line. Track 6 is very trippy and will probably turn quite a few listeners off. However, there is much more happening here besides the Skinny Puppy like rhythm section which becomes less prevalent as this song progresses. The beauty of track 7 is apparent from the beginning and it has a hypnotic quality. Just play it on repeat 1 and you might experience a beautiful enchanted evenings. Track 8 floats in between Massive Attack, Radiohead and Joy Division, a truly perfect ground. Both tracks 9 and 10 are...very complex... underneath.
Again, please listen to this album quite a few times before you decide that you really don't like it as much. This music will grow on you...
11 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?