When sitting down with your friends over a beer or ten, do you end up discussing what your top five favourite albums of all time are? I do and this little beauty is always there! So, some background information for you. I used to be involved in the Bristol music scene in the eighties and in fact spent many a blissful night behind the decks at a number of Bristol's clubs, one of those being the now famous 'Dug Out' which was the foundation scene for the Wild Bunch and from there - well that's history and well documented. So having seen the Wild Bunch in action all those years ago I found myself buying Blue Lines the day it came out in 1991, and having taken the purchase home sat back in amazement as from the dark undertones of "Safe from harm" to the final uplifting beauty of "Hymn of the big wheel" I knew that this was unlike anything I had ever heard before. How could a bunch of 'blaggers', as the guys used to refer to themselves as being, produce an absolute masterpiece and I mean masterpiece? I guess we will never know but for me music has never quite been the same since. This CD never stays out of my home or car for long and even though I have followed Massive Attack like a religion since their birth, I still love this album more than anything else they have released. Don't get me wrong, I treasure their subsequent releases and would always find a moment or a mood for each. 100th Window for instance is very dark and very different than anything else you can put your hands on currently which makes it so unique, but picture a sunny day in Bristol driving through St. Pauls or across the Downs and Blue Lines falls into place. I guess it's simply just a Bristol thing. If you have just got into Massive Attack and want to understand where it all began, get your hands on this and give it a try. If dark and moody is your thing then you might find Blue Lines a little light and soulful for your musical taste buds, but if you are like me and can cast your body and soul back to 1991 when this hit the streets then you might find a new entry in your top five! May I suggest that you look up the book "Straight Outa Bristol" by Phil Johnson, it gives a glorious account of the beginnings of the Bristol sound and covers the emergence of Massive Attack, Tricky, Portishead etc in great detail and with great passion (limited availability now but good hunting). One final note, has there ever been a track with such a sublime beginning as "Unfinished Sympathy"? - No I didn't think so either! (I dedicate this review to Smiler. X)
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