90s electronic stalwarts Morcheeba are back with their ninth studio album; Blaze Away, a more mellow affair that blends ambient soul with ambient bass notes. Following a brief split in 2003, the band now consists solely of Skye Edwards and Ross Godfrey after the departure of his brother Paul in 2014.
Despite being regularly described as an electronic group, Morcheeba take a notoriousy more downtempo approach, something that is showcased expertly on opener Never Undo. It’s not the most electrifying start to an album, but as it falls away into the Roota Manuva featuring titular track – things begin to get a tad more funky. Manuva and Edwards voices are two sides of the same harmonious coin, despite occupying two very different stylings. The guitars get a touch more rock n roll, highlighting that Morcheeba remain flexible and contemporary.
Sweet L.A. is aptly named, encapsulating the laid-back atmosphere of it’s namesake city as dusk descends. Allowing Edwards voice to take centre stage, showing that sometimes exercising restraint can make for a bigger impact. Next it’s a quick stop in France on Paris sur Mer, a decadently smooth tune that oozes sophistication by the bucketload. The breathless French vocals cascade like wine from an incredibly expensive bottle.
Closer Mezcal Dream is almost desolate in how expansive it is, providing a mellow end to a well put together record. With Morcheeba, the go big or go home ideology isn’t even on their radar, instead by opting for the less is more approach – Mescal Dreams provides genuine sanctuary from the nonstop world that surrounds.
Morcheeba have taken a step back from the outside world, looking at it from afar rather than through a hyper focused lens. There is no booming production or intense vocal flurries, and actually it is a welcome break from sensory overload. It could be the best chill-out album of the year so far.