- Massive Attack: Mushroom, 3-D, Daddy G.
- Additional personnel: Nicolette, Tracey Thorn, Tricky, Horace Andy (vocals); Chester Kamen (guitar); Craig Armstrong (piano); Rob Merril (drums).
- Massive Attack's sophomore effort could never be as stunning as Blue Lines, and a slight drop in production and songwriting quality made the comparisons easy. Still, from the first two songs Protection sounds worthy of their debut. The opening title track is pure excellence, with melancholy keyboards, throbbing acid lines, and fragmented beats perfectly complementing the transcendent vocals of Tracey Thorn (an inspired choice to replace the departed Shara Nelson as their muse). Tricky, another soon-to-be-solo performer, makes his breakout on this record, with blunted performances on "Karmacoma," another highlight, as well as "Eurochild." But even though the production is just as intriguing as on Blue Lines, there's a bit lacking here -- Massive Attack doesn't summon quite the emotional power they did previously. Guest Craig Armstrong's piano work on the aimless tracks "Weather Storm" and "Heat Miser" leans uncomfortably close to Muzak, and his arrangement and conducting for "Sly" isn't much better (vocals by Nicolette save the track somewhat). Though it's still miles ahead of the growing raft of trip-hop making the rounds in the mid-'90s, Protection is rather a disappointment. [Protection was re-released on LP in 2016.] ~ John Bush
Rolling Stone (4/11/02, p.106) - Ranked #8 in Rolling Stone's "50 Coolest Records".
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.79) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."
Rolling Stone (4/6/95, p.64) - 3.5 Stars - Very Good - "...this English dance-pop outfit...delivers brilliant body music that doesn't neglect the brain. Cool, sexy stuff, it smoothly fuses dub, club and soul, grounding its grace in sampled hip-hop beats..."
Spin (2/95, pp.77-78) - Satisfactory - "...the dark depressive flipside to Soul II Soul's sunny, self-determining optimism. The beats are even slower, the grooves more contemplative than propulsive, the arrangements... influenced by METAL BOX-era P.I.L....The songs rarely allow for emotional release..."
Alternative Press (7/95, p.106) - Ranked #93 in AP's list of the `Top 99 of '85-'95' - "...PROTECTION return[s] Massive to their reggae roots...Thundering bass echoe[s] beneath percolating hip-hop beats and smooth soul grooves...Unlike that of increasingly cartoonish gangstas, Massive's might [is] no media pose..."
Vibe (2/95, p.88) - "...well couched in the sound-system ethic....PROTECTION is a weird piece of work that fits right into the defining mantra of British dance music...A surreal forging of dub, hip hop, soul, and random bugged-out elements..."
New York Times (Publisher) (1/6/96, p.C16) - Included on Neil Strauss' list of the Top 10 Albums of `95 - "...full of loops, echoes, ghostly voices and the conviction that space is as important as sound..."
NME (Magazine) (12/24/94, p.22) - Ranked #13 in NME's list of `The Top 50 Albums Of 1994.'
NME (Magazine) (9/24/94, p.49) - 8 - Excellent - "...Rolling pianos, soft handclaps and a quiet little bass noodle: odd and very grown-up, but cinematically sexy..."