Morcheeba - Charango

As the Wu Tang gothic strings of "Otherwise" and the plink plink plink Dr Dre style piano riff underpins "Aqualong" you can't help but feel that Morcheeba would be an absolutely mind blowing band if only they weren't so English and restrained. Its all there interspersed with english folk and blues and real hip-hop backing just waiting to break out but while The Godfrey Brothers have a hand in the production duties it will always appear a little too coffee table and far too polite. I remember back in the day when Morcheeba toured with trip-hop geniuses Attica Blues and while they still had a certain whiff of M.O.R about them they rocked the blues as hard as they could over the backbeat and yet album by album, of which "Charango" is their fourth, they seem to have just drained themselves of the very aspects which make them interesting.

Even now when they do get in hip-hop heroes such as Pace Won on the title track and "Get Along" and the genius that is Slick Rick on "Women Lose Weight" it appears hideously contrived as if this simple act of keeping it real will wipe out a career of mistakes. The latter, although they play the ironic card, just seems like a poor relation Eminem and the background music being a sanitized supermarket version of hip-hop. "Charango" has been described as musical cannibalism, but its more a case of musical decomposition where all that's left is a former shell of an otherwise brilliant musical body of work. Morcheeba unfortunately have all the great ideas nestling away in their mind, but still to this date they haven't managed to put those ideas down on tape.

Alex McCann

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