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Morcheeba - Dive Deep

Morcheeba, Dive Deep

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

MORCHEEBA – aka brothers Paul and Ross Godfrey – have come a long way since their early days as trip hop/chill out pioneers backed by the unmistakably sultry vocals of Skye Edwards.

When Skye departed to go solo, they recruited Daisy Martey and Rob Mullinder for their last album, The Antidote, and proved conclusively there was life beyond those vocals. With their sixth album, Dive Deep, they move forward yet again to firmly re-establish Morcheeba as a group in only the loosest sense of the word.

Rather, the name has become a vehicle for Paul and Ross to further explore the musical mediums they enjoy, whether it’s folk, rock, hip hop or even blues. And it’s a mighty impressive listen – one that’s still rooted in chillout territory but that boldly and decisively has opted against putting the brothers alongside any fixed singer.

Indeed, there are many collaborations on Dive Deep and they only add to the eclectic nature of the music, including acclaimed singer-songwriter Judie Tzuke, newcomers such as Thomas Dybdahl and hip hop figure Cool Calm Pete.

Tzuke gets the album off to a blistering start with Enjoy The Ride – a former digital single – that combines classic Morcheeba beauty with elements of Fleetwood Mac in their prime. The intro, especially, owes more to folk rock than trip hop thanks to the presence of guitars over beats. But come the end, you know you’re in assured, safe Morcheeba territory as well.

It’s the sort of track that immediately obliterates concerns that Morcheeba wouldn’t be able to survive for any great length of time without Skye – and proves that by adapting, refining and branching out they can actually get stronger!

Riverbed benefits from some wonderfully soothing instrumentation that compensates for a set of vocals I wasn’t entirely convinced by (from Dybdahl, sounding ominously like a cross betwen Roy Orbison and Nick Cave) but Thumbnails is a nice atmospheric instrumental that actually benefits from the absence of vocals.

Then comes another startling selection – a cover version of John Martyn’s Run Honey Run, a folksy offering that actually benefits from some of Morcheeba’s slick production values.

Gained The World is a melody-laden beauty that introduces the listener to the soothing tones of French vocalist Manda for the first time (and she’s particularly effective over the lush chorus), while the collaboration continues on Au-Dela, Morcheeba’s first French song proper, which contains a beguiling European charm and a cinematic sensibility.

In between, One Love Karma takes a trip down hip-hop territory and drops a fine guest vocal from Cool Calm Pete, as well as the world’s first recorded fluteboxing – a human beatbox through a flute. It’s still laidback but the beats are great and there’s an upbeat feel midway through that flirts with Eastern influences as well.

Blue Chair is another smooth collection of beats and soaring female vocals, while Sleep On It Tonight draws on classic American values and features some strong guitar work. It is, however, one of two tracks that doesn’t convince as much vocally and might have benefited more from just an instrumental approach.

Final tracks The Ledge Beyond The Edge and Washed Away round things off in style, however – the former, in particular, benefiting from some sly rap and a really inspiring back beat. Washed Away, meanwhile, has rightly been described as “Pink Floyd”-esque, even though Dybdahl’s vocals fail to resonate as much as Gilmore’s.

Given the changes that have been made and the fact that the brothers have had to overcome a certain amount of disillusionment and depression, Dive Deep is an excellent return from Morcheeba that pays rich rewards and suggests plenty more is still to come from the future.

Get the lowdown on the new album

Download picks: Enjoy The Ride, Run Honey Run, Gained The World, One Love Karma, Au-Dela, The Ledge Beyond The Edge

Track listing:

  1. Enjoy The Ride – Morcheeba & Judie Tzuke
  2. Riverbed – Morcheeba & Thomas Dybdahl
  3. Thumbnails
  4. Run Honey Run
  5. Gained The World
  6. One Love Karma – Morcheeba & Cool Calm Pete
  7. Au Dela
  8. Blue Chair
  9. Sleep On It Tonight – Morcheeba & Thomas Dybdahl
  10. Ledge Beyond The Edge
  11. Washed Away

  1. Great ulbum, i got it at mp3@libertine and completely satisfied!

    Jack    Feb 3    #
  2. The album is great!
    By the way, on their official website there’s a funny game, so while you’re discovering the new songs you can play!! Go for it !!! ;op

    Lola, Brussels    Feb 6    #
  3. Great album that finally lives up to the promise of Big Calm. Judie Tzuke and John Martyn are seminal figures as truly individual singer song writers and it's a joy that they are part of the continuing exploration of good music.

    pj_skydog    Feb 13    #