Massive Attack’s New Video Stars Cate Blanchett’s Face in Riveting Close-up

Massive Attack has never really gotten the credit they deserve for being visionary visual artists in the realm of music videos. When the roll-call of rock and pop stars that have pushed the medium is trotted out, the lineup shifting, Bristol-spawned outfit is rarely if ever included. But they’ve been far better at fusing unusual visuals with their music than Kanye has (in large part because they’re not palpably desperate for art world cred and validation in the way Mr. West is) and they’ve managed to do it without drifting into insufferable navel-gazing pretension.

One measure of the high regard in which they are regarded (at least everywhere except the U.S., where they’re never gained a significant toehold,) is who they can snag to work in their music clips. Earlier this year Kate Moss, one of the last true supermodels, starred in the video for their single “Ritual Spirit.” Now they’ve just dropped the clip for the track “The Spoils,” which trains a camera on Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett’s face as it oh so slowly morphs into a rock form with no distinguishing features as guest-vocalist Hope Sandoval’s voice drifts over the languid groove. Directed by John Hillcoat (The Road; Lawless; The Proposition), the video is mesmerizing and haunting in equal measure.

Top photo by Graeme Robertson