Morcheeba: Blood Like Lemonade

RIYL: Zero 7, Sade, Wire Daisies

It might feel like an eternity since lead singer Skye Edwards left Morcheeba (2003), leaving the brothers Godfrey to experiment on a couple of albums with different guest vocalists. But with Morcheeba’s latest, Blood Like Lemonade, Edwards has returned and it’s like the band hasn’t missed a beat – i.e., the reincarnation of Morcheeba as we knew it is back and better than ever. The trippy, bluesy electronica that put Morcheeba on the map is still mostly the same, but the songs on Blood Like Lemonade are slickly produced and, well, just damn good. Edwards’ voice is plain dreamy, and these songs are the perfect vehicle for that voice to shine. Most of the tracks are the band’s signature marriage of melody and electronica, as in “Crimson,” the title track and “Recipe For Disaster.”

But there are interesting tracks on here that bring Blood Like Lemonade to another level. The acoustic-guitar-with-beat-infused “Even Though”; the stunning guitar/vocal “I Am the Spring”; and the powerful closing anthem “Beat of the Drum.” Oh, and there’s also the uber-funky pseudo-instrumental, “Cut to the Bass,” which is probably best enjoyed in a very loud, dark, club. If you were already a fan or Morcheeba, you won’t find much wrong with this effort – if you weren’t, it’s the kind of genre-defying albums that just about anyone will like. (Pias America 2010)

Morcheeba MySpace page

Morcheeba MySpace Page


Straw Dogs: Love and Then Hope

Seattle’s Straw Dogs tackle just about every sound they can handle on this album’s 14 tracks. The disc’s opener “Lie Awake” is fair enough, but everything takes off in earnest for the second tune, “Could You,” featuring a fairly knotty arrangement that pays off at the choruses. The band teeters between semi-precious songs like “Serious Love” and “Fire Outside,” and more muscular workouts such as “Fallow” and “Down My Hall.” There’s twang a-plenty in these creations, and the group isn’t afraid to wear its love for Americana on its sleeve. It runs a bit long as some of the songs start blending into one another after a while, but what’s here is strong enough for a good overall impression. Had they trimmed away four songs from the disc, they may have had an instant classic. But there’s nothing wrong with the occasional flawed masterpiece. (Crafty Records)

Straw Dogs MySpace page


Brett Terry: Instant History

Brett Terry probably means well, but there’s so much going against him on this album that he almost needn’t have bothered. The production is dangerously thin and Terry’s voice isn’t one that’s going to incite excitement in anyone’s mind in the long run. The man’s no Bob Dylan, unfortunately for him. But away he goes nevertheless crooning away on such ditties as “Unharmed” and limping through embarrassments like “Rock Star” that strive to be something (lyrically, anyway) along the lines of the Who’s “Success Story,” but fails in a terrible fashion. You just can’t believe Terry when he sings this stuff because he’s absolutely unconvincing as both a singer and a songwriter. Unfortunately, he even feels the need to attempt the Beatles classic “If I Needed Someone” by multi-tracking his vocals against his bare acoustic guitar. He completely kills it, like other people have done when covering the Fab Four. One of these days there will be a law against committing such a musical crime. Not that Terry hasn’t done enough damage here with his own tunes. Pass. (Leverkuhn Records)

Brett Terry MySpace page


True Nature: Feels Like Centuries

True Nature, fronted by Lou Barlow (not to be confused with the man of the same name in Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, et al) and featuring other talented musicians such as Aaron Comess, Gerry Leonard, and Tony Levin have come together to release this, the group’s second CD. At five tracks, this EP packs more punch than many full-length albums released these days with “The Color of Day Light” easily being the disc’s standout track. Barlow weaves strong melodies with smart lyricism, allowing a song like “My Freedom Lies Behind the Sun” to resonate passionately in today’s era of political change and societal shifting without falling over on its own message. “Woman” and “Truth I Have To Steel (Simple Heart)” also mark Barlow as a gifted lyricist and musician. With tunes this solid, it’s not hard to imagine True Nature being able to conquer an entire album’s worth of songs and sounds. Here’s looking forward to that moment. (Fire Sign Records)

True Nature MySpace page


Jana Mashonee: New Moon Born

NAMMY Award winning and Grammy-nominated artist Jana Mashonee will surely be hitting some new career peaks with her latest release New Moon Born. The Native American artist has taken a new direction with this disc, aiming for a more contemporary pop style. A gifted singer, Mashonee hits her mark numerous times on this excellent disc. The opening “Osiris’ Star” is equally hypnotic, tribal, and dance-worthy. But then there’s something like “Faded Love” which strikes a deeply soulful and smooth groove that’s every bit as tantalizing. “Solid Ground” is near-angelic, and “Take Me Back” showcases what makes Mashonee so attractive: a silky voice, nary a note misplaced with a full range and a delivery that is kept in check where if these songs were given to other artists you can easily imagine them getting bombastic. Jana Mashonee is definitely a gifted artist and this new album should find her a whole new set of fans. If you enjoy well-crafted pop music with spectacular vocals, than this one’s for you. (Miss Molly Records)

Jana Mashonee MySpace page