Review: There's a reason that Massive Attack's Blue Lines frequently appears in "greatest albums" lists. To put it simply, it's brilliant, and arguably remains the Bristol-based outfit's finest work to date (though some would argue that the dark and paranoid Mezzanine is possibly better). As this weighty vinyl reissue proves, it's lost none of its hazy, dub-propelled trip-hop charm. All-time classics such as "Unfinished Sympathy", "Safe From Harm" and "Hymn of the Big Wheel" have lost none of their soulful, mood-enhancing brilliance, while lesser celebrated cuts such as "Five Man Army" and "Lately" still sound great despite their vintage.
Review: By the time they headed into the studio to record Protection, Massive Attack were still riding high on the success of their peerless debut album, Blue Lines. While the resultant set, released in 1994, does quite hit the same dizzying heights, it remains a thoroughly great album. Of course, we all know the highlights by heart - the stoned bounce of "Karmacoma", evocative downtempo bliss of Tracey Thorn hook-up "Protection", string-drenched lusciousness of "Sly", and the gentle dub-house soul of the Horace Andy-voiced "Spying Glass", for example - but even the forgotten album cuts (see "Weather Storm" and "Better Things") have aged remarkably well. If you don't own a copy on vinyl already, you definitely should.
Review: Given Massive Attack's background, it was almost inevitable that they'd release a dub overhaul of one of their albums at one point. That time came in 1995, when British sound system legend Mad Professor - responsible for some of the greatest UK-made dub records of all time - put his distinctive twist on Protection. 21 years on, the set still sounds sublime: a radical translation that frequently bares only a passing resemblance to the Bristol band's original. It's packed with highlights, from the spaced-out, dub-house rework of "Spying Glass" ("I Spy"), to the ricocheting percussion hits and twinkling pianos of "Weather Storm (Cool Monsoon)", and creepy, delay-laden string surges of "Eternal Feedback (Sly)".
Review: Given their famously slow work rate, Massive Attack have been relatively prolific of late. This is their third 12" of the year, following the collaboration-heavy Ritual Spirit E.P (which featured, amongst others, estranged former band member Tricky), and the limited edition Dear Friend. The two tracks showcased here also feature guests. Hope Sandoval joins 3-D and Daddy G on A-side "The Spoils", adding her evocative, fragile vocals - think Liz Fraser on "Teardrop" - to the Bristolian duo's lusciously orchestrated trip-hop backing track. On the flip, things get altogether darker, as Ghostpoet narrates us through another of the pair's paranoid, late night moments. It's arguably the stronger of the two tracks, which is saying something given the overall quality on display.
Review: Kent two-piece Slaves are purveyors of a wry, raw brand of old-fashioned punk rock that is as equal parts economical, raucous and exhilarating. They may take their cues from the nihilistic spirit of the Sex Pistols and the hormonal rage of garage rock, yet they parlay old-fashioned influences with contemporary spirit and intensity, in the process creating an album curiously timeless and primal. Yet most important to the charge of 'Are You Satisfied' is its scabrous lyrics and drummer/vocalist Isaac Holman's acidic invective, rendering this collection a unique combination of style and ire.
Review: The Chemical Brothers are back with their 10th studio album (mixes and soundtracks not withstanding), and they're sounding especially fired up. The widescreen stadium psychedelia they've made their own spills out in abundance across "No Geography", but it's also matched with a feverish energy. The more up-tempo tracks, like "Gravity Drops" and "Eve Of Destruction", spit and snarl with the best of their classic, down and dirty dancefloor material, but there's plenty of space for the starry eyed songwriting they've made their own in more recent times. Just cop "The Universe Sent Me" and be immediately transported to a festival field, where you'll no doubt be catching The Bro's this summer.
Review: Thirteen studio albums in, and 'Colors' sees Beck maybe at his most playful and upbeat since the late '90s. Title track 'Colors' opens the albums with an immediacy that bursts out like a heavily polished 'Devil's Haircut'. The album veers off in all kinds of pop directions, from the anthemic 'Seventh Heaven', to the almost trap-like 'Wow', Beck shows he's willing to experiment and wrangle as much as possible into an album. It might not be his most contemplative record, but it's definitely his glossiest and most entertaining in a while, and promises a rollercoaster ride from start to finish.