Like pretty much every Massive Attack album after Blue Lines, Heligoland takes a fair amount of time to get into. On first listening, it has that rinse and repeat Massive Sound, some 3D chatter, laboured breaks. Give it some more listens and you begin to pick up the small nuances that make owning a Massive Attack album such a worthy purchase. Its rare that an album changes how it sounds depending on when your listening to it but Heligoland is without a doubt one of those albums.
Babel is the most commerically accessible track on the album, Topley-Birds vocals are absolutely perfect for this track, giving it an irreverent but engaging entry point before being smothered by the truly excellent soundscapes that lurk behind that vocal track. Amazing tune.
OK…If you haven’t heard this stunning work yet you are truly missing out. I consider myself a pretty jaded listener these days and find a lot of newer music missing something. This is missing nothing. Massive Attack have this innate ability to make electronic records that sound timeless…like Mezzanine for one. Heligoland weaves the dark with the light seemlessly. Love songs with darker messages and without missing a beat. There may not be any kitchy coolness or intentional underproduction to create a ‘sound’ (see Passion Pit) and why….because this is that good that each track is stand alone good. So good that they drip with class and stunning top-notch production. It never feels dated. It never feels forced. It feels like it fits into a pre-arranged space in your brain that has always been there waiting for it. But make no excuse, it isn’t predictable. This record is straight up smack. Download it, buy the wax, the cd…it’s meant for your brain.