ALBUM VIRGIN RELEASE: FEBRUARY
10, 2003 REVIEW: FEBRUARY 7, 2003
the span of five years, most bands burn out and end. Massive Attack, however,
chose to spend the years 1998-2003 sporadically working on their new offering
"100th Window". Now reduced to a one man band, Massive Attack
somehow manages to maintain the high level of proficiency which was more
than evident on their landmark "Mezzanine" album from 1997.
Massive Attack have opted on this new album to further explore the style
they created with their last album and add layer upon layer of production
to it. This is not an uncommon move in the music industry but I was really
hoping they'd be able to come up with something completely new again.
Why did this album take five years to release? would be my major complaint
about "100th Window".
Massive Attack have spent the time interestingly, to be sure. The arrangements
and refinement on "100th Window" are quite impressive. From
the opener "Future Proof", the gauntlet is thrown down at those
younger bands who sought to steal Massive Attack's thunder during their
"What Your Soul Sings" features the work of Irish chanteuse
Sinead O'Connor and is a stunning example of parallels in song structure
coming together to form a stark and spine-chilling composition. Ms O'Connor
has been popping up on many releases over the past two years. Could she
be testing the waters for a commercial comeback? If she keeps this up,
she just may make it.
"Everywhen" is an odd on again off tempo piece which floats
along very lazily and very majestically wheras the lead single "Special
Cases" is quite cinematic in it's content. This track is a simple
masterpiece when it comes to trip hop. The quarter note ride cymbals and
subdued 3/4 time make for a fine work of slowburning excellence. The lyrics
in this song raise the hairs on the back of my neck whenever I hear it.
I cannot praise this song highly enough, it is a true example of Massive
Attack firing on all cylinders.
The rest of "100th Window" is all quite dark and very honed
in it's sound. I can only hope to someday hear this album live, or perhaps
quite loud in a squalid strip club. For all of it's well thought out concepts
and shiny production values, I just wonder what this fellow will do for
the next album. Massive Attack are at the same point they were at after
they released "Protection" in 1995. I cannot suggest strongly
enough that they break some new ground on their next album and evolve.
The ability to make two albums which are quite similar and yet different
just enough to merit interest is a rare accomplishment. Three would be