While this particular album may not be advertised under the Morcheeba label, there’s no doubt that Skye | Ross’ eponymous debut album falls back into the familiar territory for the band. Skye Edwards and Ross Godfrey breaking apart from the band once again, following on from Edwards’ own solo career and Godfrey’s other band work, may have been what they needed to recapture the magic of the earlier Morcheeba albums, mimicking the eclectic style of Big Calm while helping it feel fresh at the same time. Skye | Ross is a definite high point of their careers.
Skye | Ross is extremely aware of the aesthetic that it’s trying to achieve. There’s a very common style that covers each track, keeping electronics as a backing element and creating warm mid-tempo tracks that lean towards rock more than anything, tapping into a variety of other genres along the way to keep it interesting: The chugging guitars of How To Fly, mixed with the squeal of the organ and the swagger of its beat give it a heavy blues vibe, whereas Medicine uses similar elements but leans more towards soul thanks to its more liberal use of organ and the backing vocals that accompany Edwards’ main vocals.
By slipping into these various genres while keeping a similar sound palette across the album, it keeps the album coherent while allowing it to keep the variety that it needs to keep from growing stale. Even its most extreme moments—namely the grand psychedelic soundscape of Feet First and the acoustic lilt of Clear My Mind and Repay The Savior—slot into the tracklist naturally, feeling perfectly at home even amongst the heavier or more upbeat songs. Edwards’ vocals play a huge part in this as well, gliding over each track without issues and matching the changing tides of the album perfectly.
For the first album released as a part of a brand new project, Skye | Ross is a surprisingly familiar introduction. Long time Morcheeba fans will definitely know what they’re in for with the album, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a top notch collection of songs that never really falters in any major way, with no real unlistenable moments to be seen. Even if its status as a debut album is flimsy at best, considering Edwards and Godfreys’ history, Skye | Ross is definitely one of the better ones we’ve seen this year.