PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Morcheeba: Blood Like Lemonade

Sean McCarthy

Morcheeba releases its "Woo! We're getting the band back together!" album. Unfortunately, its signature chill-out sound is more lazy than lush on this release.


Morcheeba

Blood Like Lemonade

US Release: 2010-07-13
UK Release: 2010-06-07
Label: PIAS
Amazon
iTunes

Morcheeba may have continued to be in existence in some form since its formation in the mid-1990s, but its sound will almost certainly be forever associated with that decade. Before the Time-dubbed "Decade From Hell", Morcheeba's blend of lush, loungy trip-hop perfectly captured the carefree, decadent dot-com era that was the mid-'90s. Even if that decade contained its share of wars and economic misery, it seemed far easier to evade those problems, and Morcheeba was the soundtrack of escape. The group's first two albums, Who Can You Trust? (1996) and Big Calm (1998), had an irresistible formula: deliver some jazzy hip-hop style beats and lay them over Skye Edwards' vocals, which were the perfect mix of frigid cool and warm soul.

In 2003, Edwards left Morcheeba. Brothers Ross and Paul Godfrey continued, but the group's signature voice was gone. Seven years later (according to a post by Edwards on her MySpace page), the three had dinner, got tipsy, and decided to reform. A scant four months later, Morcheeba's new album Blood Like Lemonade is already available for download or in stores (in the UK).

For about four songs on Blood Like Lemonade, it sounds like 1998 all over again in a good way. The opening track, "Crimson", is the perfect vehicle to welcome Edwards back into the fold. Her ached delivery of the chorus "hellbound hopeless for you" will linger in a listener's ears long after the album ends. It's the type of track that makes you question whether you downloaded the album correctly, as the slow burning nature of the song seems more at home at an album's midway point.

Things continue to go good for the reunited Morcheeba. "Even Though" may not be as memorable as "Crimson", but it's by no means a weak track, and serves as a great lead-in to the title track. While "Blood Like Lemonade" contains horribly clichéd vampire imagery and an admittedly silly simile, the Godfrey brothers manage to keep the pacing light. The band had enough faith in the song to concoct a drink after it.

Edwards' vocals and the Godfrey brothers production can make a listener forgive a few wince-worthy lyrics or some ill-placed samples--such as in the bluesy instrumental "Mandala" -- but even their talent can't bail them out during the album's woeful second half. It doesn't help that the song names are the type of titles that would make an English teacher bleed on your essay (see "Cut to the Chase", "Easier Said Than Done", and "Recipe for Disaster"). And the group's millennial update to James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World", "Self Made Man", contains such insightful observations like "There's no such thing as a self-made man / 'Cause everyone needs a helping hand".

The worst part of Blood Like Lemonade is its stagnant pacing. While Big Calm had a least a few mid-tempo numbers, all of the songs on Blood Like Lemonade have the same downtempo vibe. It's fine if you're going to make an album suited for late-night listening, but not when your effort lulls people to slumber.

By just bringing Edwards back into the mix, Blood Like Lemonade is Morcheeba's best album in years. In terms of a musical statement, it's unlikely the album will help or hurt the band's reputation. It's unfair to expect Morcheeba to come up with a release that rivals Big Calm after almost a decade apart. But usually when a band reforms, fans hope it's because the group has something to say with its new release. Unfortunately, Blood Like Lemonade, has little to say to even Morcheeba's most dedicated fans.

4

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.