28.02.2022 / Les Docks
In March 2020, Skye Edwards and Ross Godfrey were nearing the end of another long tour -they can go two years without visiting the same country twice -and the diary suddenly emptied. Tourbus parked, they began writing what became their tenth album Blackest Blue. By December 2020, they’d finished 10 lustrous new songs touching on disintegrating familial and romantic relationships, love and kinship, the world around and the consolations of cannabis. On tour, Morcheeba is Skye (vocals), Ross (guitar), Dom Pipkin (keys), Skye’s husband Steve Gordon (bass) and Skye’s eldest son Jaega Mckenna-Gordon (drums). In the studio it’s mostly just Skye and Ross -he plays guitar, bass, organ, synths, drums and percussion. “There weren’t so many pressures so we could really take our time getting the songs right,” says Edwards. “Morcheeba albums are only finished when I’ve gone completely insane,”Ross humorously adds.
The result of this time is a refined collection that fuses previous incarnations and sound of the band -such as downbeat, chill, electro-pop & soul -into one cohesive record that delves into the soul of the band’s genre-mashing musical heritage. As usual, the band didn’t approach the album with any pre-conceptions, and instead created an organic journey that represents everything great about Morcheeba.
Edwards’ lyrics are primarily focused on positivity and overcoming personal adversity that lies within. ‘Sounds Of Blue’,is a stunning cut that puts Skye Edward's sultry vocals to the forefront, floating high above an ethereal backdrop. The duo let go, writing and playing what they felt like. Speaking about lead single ‘Sounds of Blue’, “I had a poem I’d written about my free diving experience in Thailand,”Skye says. “Oh Oh Yeah is a song about getting stoned. Back in the day we didn’t think about the A&R
guy, the single, the ‘we need to hear the chorus in 30 seconds’. You’d have seven, eight-minute songs. So we went for it.”
The title ‘Blackest Blue’ comes from a lyric in album track The Moon. Originally by Irena Žilić, a Croatian singer-songwriter, Ross fell in love with the song when they shared a bill in Zagreb with Irena and asked her permission to cover it. Skye addedanother verse to it and it’s there Blackest Blue was born.
Perhaps Skye’s gloriously unruffled vocal tone means some people don’t catch the darkness in lyrics like “Put your knife away, I’ve already cut my heart out”on the album opener or the despairing “Ain’t gonna lie / Feel like I wanna die”from ‘Killed Our Love’. There’s plenty of hurt that walks with the hope when Skye sings.
The album includes features with Duke Garwood (known for his work with Mark Lanegan,amongst others) onclosing track ‘The Edge of The World’and Brad Barr(The Slip, The Barr Brothers). “I managed to get hold of him on the phone and asked him to be on our album,” says Godfrey on how they came to collaborate with Barr. “I sent him a roughpiano demo I had played and he sent back the bones of ‘Say it’s Over’. Skye completed the melody and a lyric and we had a stone cold break up song on our hands. It is a real stand out track for me, heavy as a ton.”
Morcheeba’s global reach is impressive,taking them to every corner of the world . Their signature chilled electronic/organic sound has been border-hopping ever since the London-based band emerged as a household name. The past year has been one of introspection for the duo, as they take stock of their renewed global fan base and look forward to being able to play the new album live in the not too distant future. “This was the first time since I was a teenager that I’d spent a year off the road andI enjoyed the tranquility, although I missed playing my guitar in far off lands,” says Godfrey.
Ultimately, “‘Blackest Blue’ is about finding a way through the darkest of times and emerging the other side changed but intact,”say the duo, summing up their most exciting project to date.