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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

MASSIVE ATTACK - Heligoland

Oh hey, it's 2010 and I have a music blog. I suppose I should write on it for those three stalwarts out there who follow it...




I picked up Heligoland last week with some amount of trepidation. I'd heard the song "Splitting the Atom" several months ago and thought it was nice enough, but even more on the anonymous side than what I expected; nothing about it struck me as particularly distinctive or attention-grabbing, no mean feat when one of your vocalists is the always-idiosyncratic Horace Andy. I filed it away in my mind under "pleasantly forgettable" and promptly forgot about it, moving back to having my mind blown by Owen Pallet (née Final Fantasy) and The Knife (I may have mentioned them once or twice around here...?).

I am very, very glad my completist impulses made me get this album. The opening groove, "Pray For Rain," does an excellent job of setting the tone for the album; this is a band taking the elements of past efforts that made them successful (the hip-hop sensibility of Blue Lines, the emotional heft of Protection, the paranoia-tinged sonic palette of Mezzanine and the cool stasis of 100th Window) and merging them together into a piece of work more than capable of standing with their previous efforts. From the first line sung by TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe, I was hooked. The song's tone alternates between discontent and hope, a tightrope-walk of emotions that permeates the album and keeps it from becoming too much of a sad-sack affair. The album picks up steam as it progresses; "Girl I Love You" is an obvious high point that, on first listen, obscures the momentum kicked off by "Paradise Circus" (buoyed brilliantly by Hope Sandoval's fragile vocals) and carried through the end of the album. I am not going to try to convince anyone that this is an immediately-arresting album; it isn't. It is one that will sneak up on you and smack you over the head at around the 6th listen with how uniformly excellent and awesome it is.

2 comments:

  1. Well, you make this sound awesome! I'm just happy to have been reminded that this blog exists... hoping to check out some new music soon. :)

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