Massive Attack have always been musical innovators, pushing barriers forward with every record. They are one of the UK’s most inspirational and influential bands – all three of their studio albums have met with huge critical and commercial success and their musical legacy has provided the blueprint for a sound that influenced a whole generation of dance and pop acts alike.
Their fourth album, 100th Window moves things forward once again. Written and produced by Robert Del Naja and Neil Davidge, it’s a giant leap into warm, glitchy electronica, psychedelic landscapes, Arabic strings and the depth-charged dub reggae of old. Robert Del Naja explains. “We wanted to make this a lot warmer than Mezzanine, but without making it softer. We wanted to keep the edge and the intrigue, but without making it bleak.” Massive Attack’s other member Grant “Daddy Gee” Marshall took time out from the studio. “Grant has taken a bit of a sabbatical because he’s had a child and he’s been starting a new life.” says 3D. “He’ll get back into the swing of the music again when he comes on tour with us. He’ll be back.”
Like all the Massive Attack albums, it is a ground-breaking mood altering panorama, this time heavily influenced by Eastern sounds.
The opening track “Future Proof” is multi-layered and moody with Robert Del Naja on vocals. Massive Attack’s long time collaborator, Horace Andy, appears on the edgy, echo chamber lament “Everywhen” and the unsettling, melancholy “Name Taken”.
Sinead O’Connor adds her raw spirit and emotion to three tracks, the seductive “What Your Soul Sings”, the dub heavy, emotive “A Prayer For England” and the dark, soul-dusted, string drenched single, “Special Cases”
The seductive, starry “Small Time Shot Away” is all stoned and insistent bass and drums and features Robert Del Naja on vocals, as does “Butterfly Caught” with its dirty hip hop beats and the closing track, “Antistar”, which powers along on crackly, static energy and epic, Arabic strings.
Massive Attack will embark on a worldwide tour in February, which will feature giant, interactive LED screens and stunning visuals. Robert Del Naja said “When we started we always tried to create an environment around the soundsystem and create a place we wanted to perform in. Now we want to get that back again. It’ll be interactive and experimental”.