I hope you don't notice it too much but this is in fact a blog. A personal place on the world wide collection of connected computers to store rants, trivia and distorted facts. The lost souls who do frequent this place know to scroll down immediately to the link but between the title and the link I have MySpace.
This Morcheeba album isn't the most likely candidate for this blog but I'll try to explain. It involves my personal view on the history of Morcheeba, in the categories rants, trivia and distorted facts. Scroll down, download the album, play it before continuing because it's a rather long piece of writing.
Morcheeba started as 2 brothers who were skilled enough to make music but not imaginary enough to make interesting music. It didn't hurt, they'd just smoke a couple of joints, make some music, smoke more joints, make more music, etc. and have a generally good time. Somewhere, after a joint too many, they figured that with their musical ability, they really needed to do something serious with their instruments, if only to pay for more joints. So they did and the results were pleasing but something was missing. A few joints later they figured that having vocals might well be the finishing touch.
Singers a plenty and it did improve their music. One singer in particular stood out, a girl with a voice that could make cursing like a sailor sound like the tenderest whispers of love. The music with vocals, in general and that girl's vocals in particular, provided the necessary inspiration to make awesome music. That, and having the right sound at the right time made Morcheeba even a big name in the music biz.
Success however had one downside and that is that it leaves less time for smoking joints. In fact, musical success and smoking joints don't go together at all. Proof? Look at the one exception: Bob Marley. Bob Marley traveled with a personal tribe including people who rolled his joints for him. Bob Marley supported a religion (no less) loosely based around smoking 'ganja'. Bob Marley could tell the greatest bullshit in interviews which was still dutifully published as wisdom rather than bullshit. No one ever is going to get away with that anymore so musical success equates to smoking a lot less hashish. Sure you can hire a personal aid, come up with a funky belief and tell bullshit in interviews but if you think you can do so successfully
, you're on something a lot stronger than marijuana.
Morcheeba too found it increasingly difficult to have a decent addiction and success and they opted for success. You can tell when: their 3rd and subsequent albums sound less 'dope' than the first 2. I call it the "Pink Floyd effect" ("Dire Straits Syndrome", etc., make up your own) where success slowly leads to less interesting music. Not bad music but the initial spark goes missing.
That fabulous and very distinctive singer understood it first. She went for a solo career
and left the band. What to do? Smoke weed! And find a new singer. Qualifications: unique voice, distinctive voice, good voice, everything the previous singer had and equally good but MUST. NOT. SOUND. LIKE. THE. PREVIOUS. SINGER.
That last requirement is difficult and simple; the guys wanted to continue the band when the one thing that made them truly unique was missing and nobody was going to accept an attempt to merely copy their old sound. The easy part was that they probably wouldn't be able to find a voice similar to Skye Edwards anyway. The result was called Daisy Martey and she met the qualifications: superb vocalist, distinctive sound, not a copy of Skye.
The sadness of doing everything right on the first albums is that it's easy to deteriorate on following albums and attract a fanbase that basically wants you to make more albums like the first ones. Please no evolution or development. Success attracts even new fans who think the latter albums are good and *that* sound shouldn't change.
The new singer however brought new inspiration and a careful dose of mild mind altering illicit/decriminalized substance abuse later, Morcheeba turned out an album that sort of continued where the second album ended. The sound was vastly different of course, from a childlike innocent and soft main vocalist they now had a strong and commanding singer with a huge pair of lungs. And you guessed it: the 'fans' didn't like it. Unable to cope with the situation that Skye and the Godfrey brothers had split, they rejected the new Morcheeba and as a result of that, singer Daisy got axed.
The point of this all? Well, Morcheeba is set to release a new album, Dive Deep, (wrong: this month AFAIK) January 2008, see comment #2 (thx!). And you probably sensed that I find it a shame Daisy Martin wasn't kept as the main singer because in my rarely humble opinion The Antidote was a terrific album, not in the least because of the singer. I would've been contend if Morcheeba had continued to make albums exactly like Who Can You Trust and The Big Calm but The Antidote is a very favorite of mine too. Everything in between sits somewhere in my collection but just never gets played. From what I've heard of Dive Deep, it's not particularly bad but it's not really a band album; it feels like a loose collection of songs by a band that doesn't know its direction (I'll put a link in the comments to an 'advance' copy, no guarantees to its accuracy or quality).
This post is my opinion on the greatness of the voice of Daisy Martin, my complaint to the brothers Godfrey for listening to their fans (should be the other way round ;-)
) and the scratching of an itch. With this out my system, I'll move on and I'll probably buy every new Morcheeba disc without complaint. Perhaps though you want to give The Antidote a(nother) listen and agree with me that it was indeed a fantastic album with a fantastic singer.
Echo / Chrysalis music
, 2005Morcheeba - The Antidote