Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Massive Attack: Protection [Virgin, 1995]
Trip hop without pain or mess, thick-textured and clean-etched, doing a solid for vocalists in need (they return Tracey Thorn's favor with interest, including an introduction to unknown-but-equal Nicolette) and stretching instrumentals into a weird comfort zone (e.g. the almost literally atmospheric "Weather Storm," which I assume was a little too unusual for the funk-lite hedonists in producer Nellee Hooper's own band). Definitive: "Karmacoma," a title that would say everything you need know about the killing pleasures of killer weed if Tricky's stoned vocal didn't say so much more. A-