Ever since I first heard a soothing-voiced female college disc jockey back-announce a song from Morcheeba – and I said to myself, “Did she really SAY more cheeba as the group’s name??” It was the first time I had ever heard of them, and I have had it in the back of my mind that one day I have to go get their album, but, ‘fessing-up, never have done so. Since I was taping her show that day back in 2004, I never bothered to, choosing instead to just replay the tape whenever I wanted to revisit that nice and purely cuddly moment. Fast-forward to now and this, the sixth installment on their anthology, Dive Deep. I have some catching-up to do!
Morcheeba are essentially Paul and Ross Godfrey and this is their first effort after a period of musical lesscheeba due to personal creative late Beatles-like differences that temporarily splintered the brothers from one-an-other and also estranged from one of their signatures: clearly soothing and insightful female lead vocals. We get our seasoned rocker marching orders and even “Enjoy The Ride” (purchase/download) beginning with this first song which they compare to vintage Fleetwood Mac, and on which I hear shades of Sade in Judie Tzuke’s painting the word picture with lyrics like, “With the moonlight to guide you feel the joy of being alive, the day that you stop running is the day that you arrive/Stop chasing shadows, just enjoy the ride.” As in baseball, the lead-off hitter is crucial to the team’s success. I next feel the freshness of cool water washing over the rocky “Riverbed” (purchase/download) with our first introduction to the Orbison-sh Thomas Dybdahl on the very next cut.
“Run Honey Run” (purchase/download) sounds like something they wrote with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers covering it in mind. The very next song, “Gained The World” is my personal favorite with Manda on lead vocal crooning about an unrequited life. “One Love Karma” follows closely and introduces a new sound through “fluteboxing”, i.e. human beatbox through a flute! “Au-Dela” takes you on a smooth autobahn drive to an outdoor café near the modern French Riviera, parle`-vous style. While chillin’ in your “Blue Chair”, long time fans may remember the origins of Morcheeba due in part to the intermittent rapper shout-outs.
Number nine, “Sleep On It Tonight” (purchase/download) is a slow, plodding tune, at times reminiscent of the late Luther Ingram’s “If Loving You Is Wrong...” mainly due to the organ-note riffs, with a touch of Pink Floyd “The Wall” guitar for good measure. This effort concludes with “Washed Away”, a slow-burnin’, bluesy groove again featuring Dybdahl’s “I can make it better” vocals.
I can bless this return of a favorite sound with four-and-a-half versatile-yet-consistent stars. Morcheeba is powerful in that they are capable of eliciting a mood and evoking a thought pattern and thus proving once again, that a little Morcheeba from time to time indeed achieves one-love karma, with additional props to our deus ex machina Cool Calm Pete, and makes the world a better place for enlightenment. Attention various radio formats, this deserves your attention and assorted Bravos!
Released February 19, 2008 on Ultra Records