Dive Deep from Morcheeba
Morcheeba is back with a new album called Dive Deep, out February 19th on Ultra. With this new album, Morcheeba have tried to move on. They may have lost half their fan base when Skye left, and most of the rest of those fans when ‘The Antidote’ came out with its awkward Jefferson Airplane vibe and terrible replacement female singer Daisy something-or-other, but they haven’t given up. Isn’t that admirable?
Now Morcheeba have decided to go the studio team/producer route, with a revolving door of singers on all the different tracks. One half of brothers team Paul Godfrey says he contacted most of the guests via MySpace, and everything just clicked. Let’s listen and find out. Let’s listen for clicks.
Music and beats are a tad generic but pleasant- the arrangement is Morcheeba by numbers- on first track ‘Dive Deep.’ Singer Judie Tzuke doesn’t add much of her own personality, sounding instead like a second rate Skye. Things certainly swing upwards quickly with second track “Riverbed’ featuring Norwegian guest Thomas Dybdahl. The arrangement by other brother Ross Godfrey is gentle, pastoral and quite lovely, and the song is hopeful and sweet- a true surprise.
Ultimately, different singers on each song creates a sort of scattered feeling, the beats and background music flowing through all tracks and tying them together, a sort of post-trip hop mix tape. Throughout, there are hints of 60s folk, 70s funk, and there’s even bluegrass & blues on ‘Run Honey Run,’ which some might want to compare to Play-era Moby. But when exactly did Moby corner the market on layering old vocal arrangements over new beats? And anyway, this is a new vocal arrangement, so scratch that last idea. Just listen to the song, and find out what I’m on about. Really nice arrangements abound, a few of them harkening back to their Big Calm peak, but eventually everything sort of just sinks into itself. It sounds pretty, but it’s ultimately forgettable.
And that’s how my review would end if I didn’t keep listening to the album, again and again. See, I’m one of those fans that, when Skye left, said “Damn, Morcheeba’s broken up. It’s a shame, but I’ve still got their first four great albums to throw in whenever I want.” But I’m bored today and music is a great thing to keep one company on days like this. And Dive Deep keeps growing, and growing, and given the effort, it turns into a pretty good album, against all expectations. This reporter’s, anyway. If listeners can accept the idea that bands change lead singers all the time and stay relevant, Morcheeba’s new one is a keeper. It ends up being different, and that’s always a good thing. Click.