Released: June 1, 2018
Listen if you like: Drifting on the beach, spy-chic, rooms with velvet wallpaper.
A band with a storied pedigree touches down again, just in time for Summer.
Morcheeba cast a long shadow with their 1996 debut Who Can You Trust?, and they have rarely set foot outside of that boundary. The formula that made trip hop hit “Trigger Hippy” work so well has been repeated time and time again: Moody, spacious beats, elements of 60’s instrumentation, world music samples, slide guitar, all brought together by Paul and Ross Godfrey, in service to the slithering vocal style of Skye Edwards. Over the years these elements have been tumbled and refined, but almost never deviated from. They are a band who has stubbornly stuck with a style for decades, even with a brief break up in the mid-2000s that saw a departure from Edwards..
Blaze Away shines a new light on Morcheeba while feeling as familiar as ever. The album sees another split, with Paul Godfrey absent, but his absence is not felt. This is Morcheeba at its contemporary best. Production is smoother and more compact than ever, and the tried and true formula has been implemented with laser precision. The blend of hip hop, reggae, dub, and lounge is present as always, but manages to feel updated and fresh. Tracks like “Love Dub” and “Mezcal Dream” will feel like a warm blanket to long time fans.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is “Sweet L.A.”, a stripped down track featuring Skye Edwards accompanied by only a Fender Rhodes. It’s a moving, intimate song that proves that Morcheeba is more than the sum of its parts.
At 35 minutes, nothing outstays its welcome. Blaze Away skips across the surface of deeper waters, touching down in sultry french vocals, MC energy, and Moon Safari-esque spaceyness provided by features from Benjamin Biolay, Roots Manuva, and Amanda Zamolo respectively.
Morcheeba has managed to find new angles from which to approach their signature style with Blaze Away, proving that while their band may no longer be whole, their sound is as intact and essential as ever.