English band Morcheeba, released their sixth studio album on February 4th titled ‘Deep Dive.’ This is the band’s second studio album without singer Skye Edwards, a voice that became synonymous with the band thanks to their first four albums. 2005’s ‘The Antidote’ met with mixed reaction from fans because of Edwards’s missing vocals (she was replaced with singer Daisy Martley who only appeared on this one record). So how does ‘Deep Dive’ fare?
Sad to say, not so well. Despite the fact that core musical group of Morcheeba, the Godfrey brothers, is still in tact, the lack of a single vocalist through the album is starkly noticeable. With a rotating cast of singers through the album and a seemingly new direction into a more stripped and mellow music-scape, ‘Deep Dive’ tends to play as more of an easy listening compilation than a cohesive album, which is disappointing, especially after the success and excellence of their prior releases with Edwards, mainly ‘Big Calm’ and ‘ Fragments of Freedom.’
The tracks themselves are solid enough but with the addition of the various singing talents, the album almost gives you the sense that Skye Edwards and her vocals actually helped finish baking the songs, bringing them together and moving them from solid to great. Indeed, the standout track from the album is called ‘Thumbnails’ and is an instrumental tune and one of the only throwbacks to their trip-hop sensibilities found in previous albums. There are a few other tracks that had me tapping my foot, but the lack of cohesiveness in the vocals throughout the album made the first few listens more jarring than anything.
Overall, this album is good background music (I think it’ll be my tax-preparation soundtrack) but from a band that has created a few of my favorite albums, it’s a bit disappointing and makes me hesitant to impulse buy any future albums. I’m all for changes in musical direction, but with all gambles come risks and sadly, the ‘Deep Dive’ gamble didn’t pay off.