After five studio releases and over 20 years, Massive Attack has never made the same record twice. It’s nothing unexpected from such an iconic figure of the trip-hop genre – and their latest album Heligoland is no exception.
If their first release Blue Lines sticks out as their emergence of trip-hop, the darker and more uncomfortable Mezzanine is by far their most memorable. Hence the dilemma – Massive Attack’s progression can be seen as either maturity or a gradual distancing from their hip hop roots, a trend many find upsetting.
Rather than perpetuate the latter view, Heligoland works out the imperfections of Massive Attack’s shift away from Blue Lines. The album abandons the overly sweet vocal contributions that weighed down their previous 100th Window. It furthers their ominous and gritty development, bringing it closer to Mezzanine’s savory high.
Give these tracks a listen: “Splitting the Atom,” “Psyche,” “Paradise Circus”
For fans of: Burial, Portishead, Gui Boratto
– Justin T. Ho