After a seven-year hiatus, Massive Attack’s highly anticipated new release Heligoland is a letdown, to say the least. With collaborations from a variety of musicians such as Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio, Guy Garvey of Elbow, and regular Massive Attack contributors Horace Andy and Robert del Naja, fans were looking forward to something special. For those expecting a masterpiece from these long-absent trip-hoppers, however, this will fall far short of expectations.
The rumored creative presence of famed Brit-popper Damon Albarn (of Blur and Gorillaz) on this new album was cause to hope for some exciting results. However, his track “Flat of the Blade” is barely listenable, and for the most part his contributions fail to stand out from the rest of the album, which is not saying much. The songs on Heligoland are practically dirges, flat and depressing, sometimes starting out with promise but inevitably slumping. The strongest tracks on the album, “Girl I Love You” and “Paradise Circus,” are enjoyable but leave something to be desired.
This becomes the general feeling of the album. Whether from lack of conviction or inspiration, Massive Attack fails to capture their audience’s interest. Their effort on Heligoland ends up sounding like just another band trying to copy Radiohead. For all but the most dedicated fans, this fifth album will be a sure sign that Massive Attack is beginning to dry up creatively.