Protection was Massive Attack’s second album after the critically acclaimed Blue Lines and its much heralded second single Unfinished Sympathy, a collaboration with writer/vocalist Shara Nelson. Nelson left Massive Attack after the first album and the band recruited Everything But The Girl singer Tracy Thorn as a guest. Thorn had formed EBTG with her partner Ben Watt in Hull in 1982 and had become, like Massive Attack, much loved by the Dance crowd.
I played the Protection album to death, this song, Tricky’s Karmacoma, Nicolette’s Three and the instrumental Weather Song had me hooked. The album, that reached No.4 in the UK chart, jumps between Dance, Chill Out, R&B, Reggae and jazzy instrumentals. Horace Andy’s strange vibrato on Spying Glass and the return of Tracy Thorn on Better Things with its James Brown sample. Euro Child manages to deliver that wonderful Bristol Trip Hop skill of Rap with atmosphere. Nicolette, returns on Sly with all kinds of different musical styles appearing in the song, romantic strings, groove, percussion and sounds – great stuff. The album ends with Heatmiser, a thematic instrumental that samples breathing and pulsing synths all the way through.
There is one more track – Horace Andy doing Light My Fire live – can’t get into that at all but really love the rest of the album. The Bristol scene managed to create something special with Massive Attack, Portishead, Tricky, Martina Topley-Bird, Moorcheba – and on this album with a little help from Hull.
A strange video with a literal interpretation, a very British downtrodden urban landscape has Massive Attack on a theme of protection in bad circumstances for a vulnerable woman with a child? The atmosphere is unnerving and leaves you feeling helpless – it won MTV’s Video award in 1995.