Massive Attack emerges from the darkness with an epic EP

It’s been five long years since we heard anything from Massive Attack, but it’s certainly been worth the wait. A new four-track EP, Ritual Spirit, arrived this week, featuring collaborations with Tricky, Young Fathers, Roots Manuva, and Azekel.

Tricky’s track, Take It There, turned up on YouTube, a track produced by one half of the Bristol duo, 3D (aka Robert Del Naja), and a clip directed by Japanese Hiro Murai, whom Australian music lovers might remember for his work creating Chet Faker’s clip for Gold, the one featuring a trio of roller-skating babes and faker himself in a car wreck, which they nonchalantly roll past.

Here’s the Massive Attack clip, and it’s quite mesmerising, as is often the case with Murai’s work.

Musically, Take It There features all the hallmarks of classic Massive Attack — hypnotic beats, dark lyrics delivered via menacing whispers — but the guitar and piano work is also superb. It’s more reminiscent of the collection of tunes on Mezzanine than those on Protection, which was the last album Tricky featured on. The tension is high, and the quality exactly what you’d expect.

As for the other tracks, again they’re undeniably the creations of Massive Attack.  Dead Editors, featuring Roots Manuva, is super industrial, very blippy in parts, while title track Ritual Spirit really ramps up the drama. Azekel’s vocal work is excellent, and wow, that bass line.

Voodoo In My Blood, which features Scottish hip-hoppers Young Fathers, is perhaps the weirdest track of this quartet of tunes, but that’s not to say it still isn’t magnificent, particularly towards its final stanzas.

You can listen to Ritual Spirit in its entirety right here.

It’s great to hear these guys making wondrous noises again. If only we had an album’s worth of material to plug into, though. Still no news on that possibility as far I can tell.

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