British trip-hop pioneers Massive Attack are hard at work on their fifth album. It has a title, "Weather Underground," but don't ask any of the band members what it actually sounds like.

British trip-hop pioneers Massive Attack are hard at work on their fifth album. It has a title, "Weather Underground," but don't ask any of the band members what it actually sounds like.

"We've got a lot of tracks in certain shapes and forms, but I still feel that I want to find the angle," chief songwriter Robert Del Naja, aka 3D, tells Billboard.com. "With every record there comes a point where you suddenly find the album; once you get that angle, you start to feel it and really put it together."

Del Naja says Massive Attack has been working on "Weather Underground" at the group's own studio in Bristol, England, as well as in New York with members of TV On the Radio. Regular singers Horace Andy and former Cocteau Twins member Elizabeth Fraser are part of the album as well.

The recording has been put on hold while Massive Attack prepares for its first North American tour in eight years, which kicks off Sept. 10 in Toronto. Del Naja doesn't expect to return to the studio until the end of the year or possibly early 2007.

"I guess we'll see at Christmas how many songs we think are really good, how many are just OK and how much we've got to do after a Christmas break," he says. "Obviously we want to get it out next year."

Del Naja says Massive Attack has played some of the new songs at shows this year and will road test some of them during the North American tour. "Some things have been more successful live than others, but we've got a couple of things to show people," he explains. "We've done that before -- mainly with 'Mezzanine,' when we toured in '97. When people don't know the songs yet you can mess with them and then adjust them when you get back in the studio. Radiohead do it quite a lot. It's a good way of doing things."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print