The Antidote

Studio Album by released in 2005
The Antidote's tracklist:
Wonders Never Cease
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Ten Men
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Everybody Loves a Loser
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Like a Military Coup
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Living Hell
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People Carrier
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Lighten Up
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Daylight Robbery
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Antidote
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God Bless and Goodbye
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The Antidote review

Ross and Paul Godfrey, aka Morcheeba, return with their fifth album, The Antidote. The record marks a number of significant changes for the band, most notably their first album without singer Skye Edwards who has flown the coup to concentrate on a solo career, and has been replaced by sometime Noonday Underground singer Daisy Martey, a young lady whose powerful voice earned her Grace Slick comparisons from Ross. Her sound seems to have influenced this latest record - not only does her voice feel considerably rawer, but also the Godfreys' music has changed to suit it. Away are the samples and electronics of Big Calm in favor of live drums, mandolins, tin whistles and some of the most eclectic arrangements.

Tunes are better defined and more distinct than on previous outings where the groove sometimes seemed the only concern. Fans of psychedelic arrangements, complex rhythms and inventive songwriting will embrace it. Aphex Twin, Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine are all detectable; so too are the likes of Hendrix and Fairport Convention. Another great influence is legendary arranger/producer David Axelrod whose pioneering 60s and 70s work with artists such as Lou Rawls and Cannonball Adderley boasted the same slick drums, big horns, moody strings and flirtatious flutes. All are recorded live here and sound more dynamic than the more familiar overdubbed Morcheeba sound.

Expansive brass sounds dominate the end of several tracks, to James Bond theme effect on Everybody Loves A Loser. Elsewhere, slide guitar, mandolin and brass vie for attention in the lovely Lighten Up. Living Hell is the best exponent of the record's juxtaposition between laid-back times of yore (the verses) and the strident sound of now (choruses) and is one of the album's most powerful tracks. It veers from country-tinged reflectiveness to Santana-esque rock out. God Bless and Goodbye, the closing track, mixes the old and new best with a grateful nod in the direction of Scott Walker's guitars and drums — only Daisy's vocals prevent it from passing as one of the great man's own compositions. Highlights include Ten Men with its swampy, Stone Roses-style guitar work, and a rousing climax that's one of the albums signatures. People Carrier boasts a riff Led Zeppelin might claim their own. But The Antidote shows Morcheeba's poppier side too on tenderly melodic tracks like Lighten Up and Daylight Robbery. Lyrically, Morcheeba focuses on finding freedom often within oneself and dealing with relationships.

Morcheeba released their title album in '96, so they've been in the game for nine years now. Bands that last that long and longer must find new directions to go in, or they stagnate and die. With the new album Morcheeba has done just that. While still recognizable as the same band, with similar vocals and sounds, the music has a new mood and tempo. It might be described as a bit more upbeat, a bit more punchy, a bit more raw. Listening to this album, it is easy to get a sense of the musicians coming through, rather than the producer.