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Album Review

Massive Attack, 'Heligoland'

February 8, 2010

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Fans of Massive Attack have not waited in vain. Seven years after their last album, 2003’s “100th Window,’’ the British trip-hop masters are back with another marvelously moody missive. With a rotating roster of vocalists, as is the band’s signature, “Heligoland’’ offers a starry cast of collaborators. TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe kicks things off riding a tumbling groove with his resonant, soulful vocals on “Pray for Rain.’’ Longtime friend Martina Topley-Bird swoops back in on several tracks, giving the skittering and scratching “Babel’’ and the pulsating “Psyche’’ a topping of her girlish yet smoky style. Hope Sandoval leavens her sweet style with a tinge of menace on “Paradise Circus.’’ And Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz pines with the best of them over the acoustic-electric layers of “Saturday Come Slow’’ with a plaintive, early-Bowie bent. The vibe is definitely late-night and low-key as bass riffs rumble in the distance, woozy horns appear and disappear with disorienting charm, and synths thud and sputter with oddly timed but danceable rhythms. The result is a record that alternates between fuzzy and crisp; those who like to get lost in their headphones should approve. (Out tomorrow)

SARAH RODMAN

Rock Massive Attack Heligoland
Virgin/EMI
ESSENTIAL “Saturday Come Slow’’