Morcheeba - Head Up High (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
EIGHT albums in and Morcheeba are still delivering the goods while mixing things up a bit.
Head Up High still finds Paul and Ross Godfrey and Skye Edwards serving up some sumptuous trip-hop moments but it’s also a far more eclectic album than lead single (and early highlight) Gimme Your Love suggests.
Also included among the album’s roll call of talent are hip hop legend Chali 2na (Jurassic 5), rap mogul Nature Boy, the smoky vocals of James Petralli (White Denim), cheeky UK rhymers Rizzle Kicks and the fierce French-Chilean rapper, Ana Tijoux, who Paul first encountered on hit TV show, Breaking Bad.
The result is an album that changes pace, tempo and style throughout and which feels all the more richer for it. Not every track scores, but there are far more that impress than don’t.
Gimme Your Love sets things rolling in terrific fashion (and with a note of familiarity), before Face of Danger employs an almost disco-pop strut, as well as a rap.
But there’s a deliciously bluesy trip-hop vibe on another favourite, Call It Love, which subverts the expectation in the name with a downbeat look at a twisted relationship (“like a fool I’m asking you why you call it love… you took everything that we give you”).
And an even more heartbreaking trip into melancholy with the Skye-delivered Under The Ice, which sounds like it should be deeply romantic but which yields a chorus “you were my only love in life but now you’re gone”. It’s emotionally rich.
Skye continues that vibe on the stripped back piano moment that is I’ll Fall Apart, which laments “it could have been love all along… don’t say that it’s too late” with a gospel-tinged backdrop and a duet with Chali 2na. It’s terrific.
Indeed, the first half of the new album arguably rates among the best of Morcheeba’s career to date.
Make Believer drops a vibe akin to classic Roxy Music and seduces once more, while Release Me Now finds Skye in more defiant mode vocally, with a snappy back-beat to make her delivery more emphatic and immediate.
If the remainder of the album is a little more hit-and-miss (To Be and Hypnotized sound like fillers), there’s still quality to be found on To The Grave, which delivers a lush chorus, and Finally Found You, which concludes the album with another slow-burning trip-hop gem.
Fans should delight in this latest offering, while newcomers should also be seduced by a lot of what they hear. Head Up High has a lot of moments to savour.
Download picks: Gimme Your Love, Call It Love, Under The Ice, I’ll Fall Apart, Make Believer, Finally Found You