Massive Attack have always had an uneasy relationship with consistency, but never let it be said that their albums don’t contain moments of brilliance. ‘Heligoland’, largely, maintains that reputation: beautiful highs, surrounded with tedious electro-dub. Thankfully, the peaks come more frequently here than on any Massive Attack album since ‘Blue Lines’ – Tunde Adebimpe is beautifully smoky and sleepy on ‘Pray For Rain’, the LP’s opening slo-mo tango, and the Guy Garvey-led ‘Flat of the Blade’ is a gorgeously woozy melding of human and machine. At the top of the pile though is ‘Saturday Come Slow’, building walls of guitars and strings underneath the tenderest performance Damon Albarn has turned in since, well, ‘Tender’. But Heligoland is more than just another imperfect Massive Attack album; there’s a sense of purpose here, a sense of drive, and maybe even (whisper it) consistency.

By Sam Walton

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