Release Date: 02.11.03
Record label: Virgin Records
The Return of 3D
by: peter naldrett - uk correspondent
It’s been a dreary time for albums so far this year, but Massive Attack are about to open the curtains and let some daylight in. Their fourth studio album, 100th Window, is not about to blind us with its power, but it will certainly provide a welcome break.
100th Window trundles on almost without you noticing it’s playing because there is nothing to really make you sit up and take notice of it. But once it’s over you end up looking around for more, missing those melodic tunes that were bathing your ears.
Massive Attack reached their epiphany in the 1990s when they teamed up with Everything But The Girl leading lady, Tracey Thorn, and enjoyed success with Protection. A second coming is surely on the cards after they persuaded the gorgeous Irish voice of Sinead O’Conner to add vocals to three tracks on 100th Window. The best of these, and the obvious choice for the next Massive Attack single, is "Special Cases," a beautiful song which effortlessly combines rich vocals with the now standard ethereal electronic vibes. O’Conner is also impressive on "A Prayer For England" and "What Your Soul Sings," transforming what would have been cool instrumentals into haunting melodies in a way only she has perfected.
But this is not a Sinead O’Conner album, and to place too much on her presence would detract from the good stuff to be found elsewhere. "Everywhen" is a long, rhythmic track that sticks in your subconscious, and this can also be said for "Butterfly Caught," "Small Time Shot Away" and "Name Taken."
None of it is blistering stuff that will storm the charts, and only the Sinead O’Conner songs really lend themselves to anything marketable. But this is pleasant stuff, with a dark content and a strangely addictive deepness that is represented by formidable bass lines. This is a good quality album for those who like quality spread evenly around the entire CD. 04-Feb-2003 1:10 PM