This month bears into the world Massive Attack’s Extended Play (EP) . Containing four tracks, it is little more than a teaser to pave the way and whet the appetite for the upcoming full-length album.
For those unfamiliar with Massive Attack, the group is one of the pillars of the trip-hop genre and has released four albums over the past 18 years. The band specializes in experimenting with moody sounds with an eclectic collection of beats and pitches.
This style was exceptional enough to place Massive Attack’s single “Teardrop” as the opening theme of the television series . Fans have been waiting the long six years it has been since the release of their last studio album, .
Beginning with the single “Splitting the Atom,” I found it quite difficult to distinguish anything but madness. The track is a set assortment of tones, claps, low growling vocals and a higher chorus which sets it as annoyingly difficult to interpret lyrics. However, the greatest turn-off of the piece was the bright claps.
I can understand Massive Attack’s desire for contrast in a muddied song, but these provided more of a sensory attack. To paint the correct mental picture, I would write it akin to a flick of light disturbing a melancholy migraine.
“Pray for Rain” is the golden boy of the collection. It provides a necessary lightness that the rest of the pieces lack. It begins with a gentle bright sound which transitions to encouraging drum beats coupled with intriguing lyrics. I cannot really offer much in negative criticism on “Pray for Rain” except perhaps that I found it repetitive, but even that gave me time to recover directly after “Splitting the Atom.”
The other two tracks sound a bit alien, which is ironic considering the genre. To expand on my comment, I felt the beats were a too other-worldly.
They were characterized by strange beats in “Psyche” and a ghostly industrial beat in “Bulletproof Love.” Speaking of “Psyche,” the treatment on Martina Topley-Bird’s vocals sounds eerie on her long notes. “Bulletproof Love” also uses such methods to contaminate the voice of Elbow’s Guy Garvey three minutes into the remix.
As a whole, does not provide ample example of how creative Massive Attack can be. All of the songs are repetitive and cramped. Of course, I am far parsed from this genre and have no prior understanding of it or Massive Attack.
I usually prefer to avoid the style of something that has expressive guitar or annoyingly cheery lyrics. I will not say these songs do not have an appealing substance of their own, but it is clearly evident by the constant repetition that it is inadequate.
Instead, let me say that I am unimpressed. Much as it would be from anyone not familiar with the subject, this may come off as a crass remark considering my impression is based on a flimsy twenty-two minutes, but I say it because many others may be considering buying this as their first induction to trip-hop.
does not deserve the investment of the clear hearts of a new flock. It is my opinion that it lacks the strength to carry even mild curiosity.