Robert "3D" Del Naja did a fine job of manning Massive Attack on his own. Sure, 100th Window was a tad austere and not quite on par with previous albums—but could you imagine trying to follow up Mezzanine solo? Besides, now that 3D and Daddy G are reunited in the studio again, you can quickly tell what has been missing with G's absence. Not quite soul per se—Del Naja proved that he could craft soul without Daddy G on 2006's "Live With Me"—but something more obscure. A chemistry that can only come from a shared history of many years.
Splitting the Atom's title track has a sluggish ragga beat consisting of a lethargic horn surrounded by eerie synths. Daddy G plods along, caught in a druggy rhyme while Horace Andy coos a (political?) plea to avoid some kind of pending apocalypse: "It's easy, don't let it go. Don't lose it." A little less paranoid but similarly gloomy, "Pray for Rain" shows off Massive Attack's knack for a winning collaboration, this time with Tunde Adebimpe of TV On The Radio fame. Adebimpe turns in an airy performance as drums roll, a piano mourns and "knecks crane" to the sky for rain. But as the gloom builds into a powerful crescendo, it suddenly breaks out into an unexpected sunshower of hope and praise—before descending back into the depths once again. Future classic stuff.
Inhabiting the second half of the EP are remixes of two forthcoming tracks courtesy of Van Rivers & The Subliminal Kid and Flash, which serve as possible insight as to what these cuts may sound like in their original shape. The former, "Bulletproof Love," is a bit forgettable but the latter is a brilliant piece of spooky electronica that features Tricky's girl Martina Topley Bird waxing gothic over a malignant acid line. If the original "Psyche" turns out as ominously good as the treatment Flash gives it, then we're in for something pretty darn special when LP5 drops early next year.
Tracklist: Massive Attack - Splitting The Atom EPA1 Splitting the Atom
A2 Pray for Rain
B1 Bulletproof Love (Van Rivers & The Subliminal Kid Remix)
B2 Psyche (Flash Treatment)