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The fifth album from Morcheeba, Charango, sounds like the kind of album that should always have been a part of your collection; like mood music for the 21st century. The beating heart of Morcheeba ripples through every song--there is the same elegance, romance and melancholy that made the first three albums so special--but the breadth of vision has grown. It is music that has the confidence to forge its own identity while taking on board everything that its creators love from anywhere in the world. There is nothing fraudulent about this record. Everything is played live, and great missions were undertaken in the search of finding the right instruments to create the right sounds. "We've worked really, really hard, and done exactly what we have believed in," says bassist Paul Godfrey. "We haven't had the usual distractions of having to worry about money, or about whether the business is being taken care of. Having completed this record, I feel completely genuine as an artist, and that's the first time I've felt like that in our career." Charango is the album that Morcheeba have been waiting to make. All three began to adapt to the enormous changes that success brings, and learnt to realize what matters and what doesn't. In the spaces in-between, they quietly formed a masterpiece.
This is an Enhanced CD, which contains both regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files.
Morcheeba: Paul Godfrey (vocals, beats, scratches); Ross Godfrey (guitar, Charango, keyboards, background vocals); Skye (vocals).
Additional personnel includes: Pace Won, Slick Rick, Kurt Wagner, Miriam Stockley, Michael Dove (vocals); Samantha Rowe (cello); Ruth Hammond (flute, saxophone); Debbie Cole (flute); Dan Goldman (keyboards); Richard Harrison, Pino Palladino, Steve Gordon (bass); Miles Bould (percussion).
Fragments of Freedom was released in 2000 and not received very well. If critics and fans would have been able to gaze into a crystal ball a couple of years in the future, they would have understood. With the benefit of hindsight, consider Fragments the prototypically disjointed transitional record that saw Morcheeba shifting focus from trip-hop to a more well-rounded mix, as Charango completes the journey that may have been bumpy, but with a sweet destination. Once again, guests are brought in to augment the band's sound; Lambchop's Kurt Wagner returns to help the electronica act with meditative lead vocals that fit into the film noir soundscape that is "What New York Couples Fight About," and Pace Won adds his rhymes to two tunes -- the title track, which harks back to the trip-hopping salad days of the group and sees the rapper taking the lead, and "Get Along," where he makes a more subtle contribution on a dreamy cut that sounds like something from the '70s if they had more modern equipment back then. However, the best is "Women Lose Weight," which sees Slick Rick sound completely old-school with Morcheeba's pop-soul groove letting his typically clever rhymes and dark comedy dominate the song. Though the appearances of outside musicians is a positive move overall, the remainder of the disc as done by the three members of the group stands up on its own; Skye Edwards' vocals are sultry as she makes all diva-like on lead track "Slow Down," the string-drenched melancholic "Otherwise," and the lazy, tropical "Sao Paulo," and overall her performance makes Charango the band's best record in some time, and for anyone not a purist, it's possibly Morcheeba's best ever. ~ Brian O'Neill
Rolling Stone (9/19/02, p.98) - 3 stars out of 5 - "Lush, vaguely exotic strings, tasteful electronic beats and a female singer who's so languid she's almost not there....Morcheeba make a lovely sound..."
Mojo (Publisher) (8/02, p.104) - "...Soulful in a Dolce & Gabbana kind of way..." Uncut (8/02, p.110) - 4 out of 5 - "...The entire album is a beauty...The most adventurous album of their career..."
Charango - (featuring Pacewon)
What New York Couples Fight About - (featuring Kurt Wagner)
Undress Me Now
Women Lose Weight - (featuring Slick Rick)
Get Along - (featuring Pacewon)
Public Displays Of Affection
Great London Traffic Warden Massacre, The
Lush, vaguely exotic strings, tasteful electronic beats and a female singer who's so languid she's almost not there--ooh la la, another Morcheeba record... Morcheeba make a lovely sound, but they seem to be broadcasting from a very bright and pretty hell.