Monday, December 14, 2009

Huge, throbbing #!$%$#@!*

Despite their reputation for dinner party trip-hop, Massive Attack have always been stubbornly uncompromising. They twisted Madonna's playboy sexuality into something gloomy and depraved on her cover of Marvin Gaye's I Want You, and smothered Shara Nelson's honeyed vocals with the paranoid chatter of the inner city on Unfinished Sympathy.

Their new record, Paradise Circus, is the sonic equivalent of dirty bed linen. The sultry strings and languid handclaps are underpinned by a pulsing bass so filthy, it can only be interpreted as a pace-setter for one of Sting's marathon rumpo sessions.

Hope Sandoval, on vocal duties, barely has to raise her voice above a whisper, so seductive is the backing track. But, of course, her purring come-ons only make matters worse. Not that the lyrics are particularly filthy. In the era of Britney Spears offering her fans a threesome and Katy Perry snogging up her ladyfriends, this is positively chaste. But see if you can listen to it without lossening your collar.

The video, however, has none of this subtlety. It is full of extremely graphic shots from vintage porn films - intercut with an interview with a grandmother who is reminiscing about her career as a prostitute and adult film star. It's great, powerful stuff, but it's not for family consumption. Unless your family name is Fritz.

The full, uncensored clip is available on the Brooklyn Vegan or Stereogum blogs. But, please, swallow whatever you're eating before you click those links. I don't want anyone choking and suing me.

* bassline, you perv

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