Massive Attack – Live With Me (EMI/Virgin)

Last summer I was trying to reach clarity on my favourite British band ever (I was bored). In my mind, there were only two real contenders: Manic Street
Preachers and Massive Attack. I finally decided on the Manics, on the basis that, although musically inferior, their impact has been so much greater. However, upon hearing this single, it strikes me how much this decision was like Crash winning the Oscar. Of course, the Manics are an infinitely better band than Crash is a film. But they share the same basic description: their heart is in the right place, but their art is less than sublime.

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Meanwhile, this single sees Massive Attack in as strong and heartbreaking form as ever. Fans will not be surprised by how this sounds. The soundscape is rich, the violins are soaring, the voice (courtesy of Terry Callier) is melancholy. It echoes ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ and ‘Teardrop’. And yet, it is somehow devastatingly new. A gem of emotion that you cannot live without now you have heard it, a sense of sadness having never been captured quite so exquisitely before. Plus, on the b-side ‘False Flags’ Robert Del Naja proves that he still has the sexiest voice in rock whilst singing about the Paris riots. Hands down, Brokeback Mountain should have won that Oscar. And Massive Attack are my favourite British band EVER. SIA (CMU)

Release Date: 13 Mar

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