Unauthorised item in the bagging area

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Five Man Army

It's a bit difficult to imagine now the impact Massive Attack had back at the turn of the 90s. Their debut lp, Blue Lines, had people who never normally bought that kind of thing listening to little else. On top of that, here was a British group, doing breakbeats, reggae, soul and rap properly. With Bristol accents. Almost all of that first lp is top stuff- Safe From Harm with it's massive sampled bassline (from Stratus by Billy Cobham) and paranoia, the gorgeous Hymn Of The Big Wheel, Horace Andy singing Be Thankful For What You've Got, the lighter than air Daydreaming (with Tricky).... and Unfinished Sympathy- contender for greatest British single of the decade ever, I'd have thought. This one ain't too shabby either-

Five Man Army

I don't think they've ever pulled it off again in such style, although the songs Protection (especially) and Teardrop are as good as anything on Blue Lines. But as a whole the subsequent albums didn't repeat the trick for me. Protection has good songs but doesn't feel as whole. Fallings out and shedding members they then became darker and darker, not enough light to balance things up. Angel is superb, a trip-hop Joy Division, but Mezzanine was an oppressive listen. Whereas Blue Lines was a joy from start to finish.


ReubenRemus said...

Hi Adam, enjoyed your review of Blue Lines, which is probably in my top 5 albums of all time. Tony Bryan actually did the vocal on "Be Thankful", and earlier sang on "Any Love".

Swiss Adam said...

Thanks for that Reuben. Any Love is great I'd forgotten about it til you mentioned it.