Bristol's finest, Massive Attack, return after a seven-year break with their new album Heligoland – how will it fare? Elsewhere, Seasick Steve releases his own Valentine's album, and dance act Pantha Du Prince release their fourth album.
Read on to see which releases are worth spending your hard-earned cash on.
Heligoland by Massive Attack: The Bristol trip-hop duo is back after a seven-year break, and Daddy G and 3D have the tunes to prove it. Heligoland explores a vast sonic and lyrical terrain, from the marching drumbeats and shamanistic vocals of opening track Pray For Rain, to the warped beats and eerie guest vocals from Elbow's Guy Garvey on Flat Of The Blade.
Other contributors – and there are many – include Blur's Damon Albarn, who sings on Saturday Come Slow, and Massive Attack's old-timer Martina Topley Bird. While there is no track as outstandingly beautiful as past offerings Unfinished Sympathy or Protection, there is enough here to keep fans going for perhaps another seven years.
Songs for Elizabeth by Seasick Steve: Surely one of the more intriguing and unlikely success stories of recent years, Seasick Steve brings the romantic archetype of the grizzled, transient bluesman into the 21st century with unique style, great panache and obvious musical dexterity.
Catapulted into the mainstream by the BBC's Jools Holland's shows, Steve's records have performed admirably and this mini-album provides a handy compilation in a unique Valentine's Day card package. Regular fans will appreciate Just Like a King, co-written with Nick Cave, and probably also a new track, Ready for Love. Of the others, it is probably Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde which best demonstrates Steve's beguilingly lo-fi sonic aesthetic.
Black Noise by Pantha Du Prince: Having made their name as the foremost purveyors of offbeat indie, Rough Trade have made the move onto the dancefloor with the signing of Pantha Du Prince. This is the German DJ's fourth full-length album and by definitively one of 2010's early treats.
The headline grabber is the appearance of Animal Collective and Panda Bear front man Noah Lennox on Stick To My Side, and while his is certainly an eye-catchingly psychedelic performance, the rest of the album finds little problem in reaching similar heights. Du Prince uses throbbing bass and chiming percussion to great effect on a series of meandering epics, while there is an impressive cerebral approach not always present in dub/techno mash-ups.
- All albums are out now from Dh85
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