Interesting and pleasant, but the soundtrack to Louis Leterrier's Danny the Dog will throw longtime Massive Attack fans for a loop. The band's trademark deep sound is untraceable for the most part. It's probably a testament to how hard they stuck to the soundtracking rules, but this program music is rather run-of-the-mill, especially when compared to Massive Attack's proper albums, which – to be fair – would overtake most filmmaker's visuals. Harpsichords play over neo-noir beats and guitars echo forever as tension builds, and while the band's keen sense of sonic structure is intact, they're layering things much less than usual here and traveling some previously explored territory.
Too bad the film "Sliver" wasn't a hit, or else this could've been one of the greatest film soundtracks of all-time. While most soundtracks just throw songs together without much thought, there's a theme on this album. You can feel the atmosphere of loneliness, lust, and mystery even if you've never seen the film. Enigma's haunting "Carly's Song" and "Carly's Loneliness" are great tracks to get you in a trance, Massive Attack's "Unfinished Symphony" is downright sexy, and Aftershock's "Slave To The Vibe" is the album's showstopper. The film (which was beautifully shot in an MTV style) could rightfully be a showcase just for these songs, kinda like "Purple Rain".
Massive Attack had wanted to work with Cocteau Twins' vocalist Elizabeth Fraser since the early '90s, and, after years of wrong-time, wrong-place scenarios, they finally had their chance on 1998's Mezzanine. Although Fraser co-wrote three of the album's 11 tracks and had a far more interesting impact on "Group Four," it was the sweetness of "Teardrop" that allowed the song the most commercial success. The single, released in May 1998, gave Massive Attack their first-ever Top Ten hit in the U.K. and gave Cocteau Twins' fans a chance to nearly clearly hear Frazer's lyrics…
The sound of a group at the very height of their power, flexing their ample muscle, Heligoland is the album Massive Attack had to produce for fear of fading further from relevance. Now we can all learn to love them once again. Piers Martin–Uncut