Prayers answered. Heligoland saw the return of Grant “Daddy G” Marshall to the fold after a brief hiatus during the recording of 2003’s 100th Window, and Marshall’s involvement is apparent on note one of “Pray For Rain;” a stripped-back & soulful tune voiced by TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimbe. The band’s highly-anticipated fifth album contains fewer layers and more live instrumentation than any of their previous offerings, with a decidedly raw feel permeating the record; in stark contrast to 100th Window’s brooding, claustrophobic sound. Check out the bass-and-drums rollage giving way to a gorgeous string crescendo in the final moments of “Paradise Circus” (Hope Sandoval’s angelic vocal on the tune is equally sublime). The bare bones Robert "3D" Del Naja-voiced “Rush Minute” sounds like almost any cut from 100th Window soulfully reinterpreted by Power, Corruption & Lies-era New Order. Reggae hero and frequent collaborator Horace Andy turns up for a pair of mid-tempo rollers, the dystopian rocksteady lurch of “Splitting The Atom” and a macabre re-rub of Andy’s 1978 classic Channel One side “Girl I Love You.” Massive Attack’s Bristol connection comes full-circle on a pair of tracks (“Babel” & “Psyche”) featuring the heavenly voice of Martina Topley-Bird, one-time collaborator and muse of ex-Massive vocalist Tricky on his classic solo debut Maxinquaye. Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) and Elbow’s Guy Garvey also appear. Massive Attack’s music has always carried a certain cinematic allure, and this is one piece of the band’s formula that Heligoland doesn’t completely jettison; the record sounds just as tailor-made for film and television syncs as Mezzanine did (“Paradise Circus” was used as the theme for BBC's Luther; other songs from the album have appeared in Gossip Girl, True Blood and Revenge). Now 8 years since the album’s initial release, vinyl copies are exceedingly rare, fetching as much as 300 bucks on 'scogs. 2017 saw much-needed official represses of Blue Lines, Protection, No Protection and Mezzanine, and Virgin are toasting 2018 in fine style with the first-ever vinyl repress of Heligoland as well as its elusive predecessor, 100th Window. Heavyweight double vinyl pressing housed in triple gatefold sleeve with black spot glitter varnish and 28 page booklet, recommended.
- first-ever repress of Massive Attack's fifth studio album
- 180g double vinyl pressing
- tri-panel gatefold jacket
- black spot glitter varnish on cover
- includes 28 page booklet
- music label: Virgin 2018
reviewed by hannibal chew 12/2017