Morcheeba

The Antidote (Echo)

Vocalists for the decade-old, formerly trip-hop British band Morcheeba are disappearing more frequently than Spinal Tap drummers. Original chanteuse Skye Edwards departed last year (she quit; she wasn't the victim of a "bizarre gardening accident") and was replaced by Daisy Martey of Noonday Underground fame, who decided over the summer that touring wasn't her thing, and now she's been replaced by singer (and saxophonist) Jody Sternberg. So The Antidote, Morcheeba's fifth album, marks the only time you'll get to hear Martey's husky, brassy delivery — a noticeable but hardly dramatic divergence from Edwards' sensual coo — weave its way into the instrumental tapestries provided by group founders Ross and Paul Godfrey. The results of the short-lived collaboration are certainly enticing, as the brothers Godfrey have been distancing themselves from the hazy, beats-from-a-bong vibe of Morcheeba's 1996 debut, Who Can You Trust?, for a while now. Here, they fully embrace exotic lounge-pop and layered, orchestral psych-pop, crafting suave melodies and arrangements that possess a live-band feel and benefit greatly from Martey's soulful, energetic pipes. Whether Morcheeba Version 3.0 fares this well remains to be seen.

 
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