21 September, 2012 in Music Reviews
Morcheeba frontwoman Skye takes the brave step of venturing into genres new to create an excellent album that’s effortlessly current
hen Radiohead released their seminal third album OK Computer, they didn’t just set the bar for its succcessor high. They found themselves at the musical crossroads that many an artist encounters, one in which their next step is of career defining importance. The aforementioned crossroads being the point at which they decide whether to develop the formula that has garnered them such success, or to move into territories new.
In choosing to follow the latter course with their follow-up, Kid A, Radiohead took the path of bravery, daring, artistry. It’s the path that many a great artist chooses to take, as for them music is an expression of the creative impulses that burn within, not a mere money-making formula. With her third solo release, former Morcheeba frontwoman Skye has also chosen the path of bravery.
“a rather different album from what you may have expected”
Morcheeba have been one of trip-hop’s great success stories and their status as such graced Skye with a reputation as the genre’s ‘queen’, though Portishead’s Beth Gibbons might have something to say about that. Anyway, enough of the quibbling… Skye’s songwriting role within Morcheeba meant it was no surprise that she might have ideas that she wished to explore in isolation from her band mates, ideas that didn’t fit the precise songwriting angle of Morcheeba. Though her third album Back To Now still sees her working with her Morcheeba (and marital) partner Steve Gordon, it is a very definite departure from her work with Morcheeba.
The departure sees her venturing into the realms of electro, minimal, dubstep and French house. Troubled Heartbrings to mind the minimal-like stylings of one of last year’s finest electronic music discoveries, its bouncy bassline recalling Hercules & Love Affair’s Leonora. Nowhere is reminiscent of the dubstep of Flight Facilities, We Fall Down brings to mind the electro of The Golden Filter, while High Life sounds not unlike Air.
It’s a rather different album, then, from what you may have expected from this songwriter. The wonderful thing, though, is that it works, with the album wearing its influences proudly on its sleeve and sounding effortlessly current.
Verdict: A brave venture into territories new