Morcheeba

Morcheeba

Parts Of The Process

Reprise/Sire

In their eight years and four albums worth of existence, Morcheeba have had handfuls of hits in their home country — England — but only word of mouth success among electronic music fans in the States. This new compilation may serve as an introduction to those who have only heard the odd track on a various artists collection or boyfriend’s CD.

More groovy than an armada and less than massive in their attack, Morcheeba make rich, effective and chilled-out trip-hop; sonic wallpaper in the non-pejorative sense. It’s tastefully played, impeccable, gentle but filled with warmth.

I don’t know how old Morcheeba — brothers Ross and Paul Godfrey (beats and guitars) and Skye (vocals) — are; judging from songs like “Blindfold,” I’d put them as kids in the ’80s. That could just be me projecting, but “Parts Of the Process” would seem to back it up — it sounds like a track from the album Depeche Mode should have made after Violator. Even better, “Undress Me Now” is similar to what I would expect from a collaboration mixing Prefab Sprout with Club 8 — which is, in and of itself, a great idea.

Speaking of great ideas, a great track, “Be Yourself,” finds Morcheeba experimenting with more straightforward pop, as does the less-formal “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day.” Unfortunately, through no fault of its own, “Be Yourself” loses points because it’s currently being used in ads for NBC’s Average Joe.

Kurt Wagner from Lambchop guest-performs on a track called “What NY Couples Fight About.” I haven’t heard his band, but let’s just say I was not surprised to learn that, according to the All Music Guide — so this must be correct — they’re influenced by Nick Drake.

One of two new tracks on Parts Of The Process — the other is an awkwardly constructed collaboration with Big Daddy Kane — “Can’t Stand It” is radio-friendly but doesn’t say much. Still, it is lovely, though this pinpoints Morcheeba’s biggest problem: half the time their synthesized, classically-influenced music squeezes into the mind like Mariah Carey into a pair of shorts; but the other half it lacks as many hooks and as a result tends to sound alike. If you’re in the mood for a Morcheeba CD, though, you don’t have to program it to skip very many jarring songs.

It’s all part of the process of getting the job done, I suppose.

Morcheeba: http://www.morcheeba.net/

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