Splitting The Atom
Label: Virgin Records
Seven years after 100th Window, the trip-hop pioneers subtly reinvent themselves, bringing on both old hands (Robert Del Naja, Hope Sandoval and Horace Andy) and upstarts (TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe, DFA's Tim Goldsworthy). Time hasn't made Massive Attack any less moody: Minor keys, stately tempos and hushed atmospherics remain their stock in trade. But careful sound design rescues most of the album with a canny balance of anxious electronics and warm, wood-grained atmosphere. The Martina Topley-Bird-fronted "Psyche" is a particularly lovely fusion of urgency and ease.