Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Massive Attack, Heligoland

Massive Attack grew out of the soundsystem/DJ collective The Wild Bunch over 20 years ago.  Membership in the group has been flexible and they are known for having had a wide variety of vocalists fronting their often dense, well-crafted productions.  The original core members Andrew Vowles, Grant Marshall and Robert Del Naja were eventually reduced to just Del Naja.  Heligoland marks the return of Marshall.

The list of vocalists on Heligoland looks promising with Damon Albarn, Martina Topley Bird, and Hope Sandoval among others.  It all starts well enough with “Pray For Rain” which features  TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe on vocals.  Downtempo, somewhat menacing, with an astonishing vocal break that brings the Beach Boys to mind, it’s a terrific cut.   While the next few tracks aren’t quite at the level of “Pray For Rain”, they are sufficient to maintain interest and attention with intriguing production and revolving vocalists.

It doesn’t last.  Before very long Heligoland sinks under its own weight.  Similar tempos which become monotonous, aimless beats and needlessly obscure lyrics delivered in sing-song monotones quickly turn Heligoland into a set where everything sounds pretty much the same.  The changing vocalists helps somewhat but it’s not nearly enough.  Heligoland is unrelentingly dreary and well before it’s over you’re wondering if it will ever end.  A disappointment.

“Pray for Rain” with Tunde Adebimpe on vox

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06/30/2010 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews | , , , ,

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