Massive Attack

Feb 3, 2010 at 6:00 am

As always with Massive Attack, dark beats and ominous vibes permeate Heligoland, and as with previous efforts, the disc is crammed full of guest singers and musicians, including Hope Sandoval, Elbow’s Guy Garvey and Blur/Gorillaz mainman Damon Albarn, who turns up on approximately one third of all records recorded by British artists these days.

The core of the band remains Robert “3D” Del Naja, returning member Grant “Daddy G” Marshall and the ever-present Horace Andy. Indeed, 3D’s nasally, sinister vocal delivery, Andy’s warbly tenor and Daddy G’s throaty baritone hold it all together. “Psyche” is built around a hypnotic, repetitive track that recalls Philip Glass, “Atlas Air” is damn near jaunty, and when “Paradise Circus” unfolds into its gorgeous, string-drenched coda, you’re reminded that Massive Attack can write lovely melodies in addition to all the spooky atmospherics. If you dig trip-hop or whatever they’re calling it these days, Heligoland delivers.