Let Chaos Rule the Rest
Although regularly categorized as experimental, Massive Attack have produced a strangely industrial, futuristic EP with almost primitive themes. In advance of a full album coming in 2010, Splitting the Atom has a metallic feel with a subtle yet consistent bass beat and electronic percussive and horn additions.
The opening title track speaks of a time that could describe the future or the past, but has a feeling of something dark and impending—”It’s getting colder outside / And we’ll never learn / No hope without dope / The jobless return / The bankers have bailed / The mighty retreat / The pleasure it fails / At the end of the week / You take it or leave.” The mysterious ambiance continues in “Pray for Rain,” the intensity of the song increasing with the sounds of tribal-like drum patterns and the haunting refrain of “vision walls fall all receding.”
A mix of “Bulletproof Love” further reflects the sound of this mini-album with robotic effects on the vocals, the seeming clanking of metal, and mentions of rivets and the abstract building of a life. “Psyche (Flash Treatment)” returns to the pseudo-primitive themes heard in “Pray for Rain,” but with dynamic synthesized beats throughout the song to augment the search for a loved one no matter the risk, natural, man-made, or chaos ridden.
It would be a disappointment if Massive Attack’s Splitting the Atom sounded like the rest of their body of work, and this EP refuses to be easily categorized. With ethereal yet factory-built sounds and lyrics that linger and demand multiple listenings to fully grasp, Splitting the Atom may dishearten longtime fans at first, but will win them and new fans over in the end. Massive Attack have created a new and captivating sound so, as they sing, “let chaos rule the rest.”