Album review

Morcheeba : Charango
China / Eastwest

Morcheeba : CharangoCharango, Morcheeba's fourth effort, sees the South Londoners slipping further and further towards lounge act oblivion.
    In a world filled with Vines and Strokes, it really does take a few spins to adjust to Morcheeba's glossy adult pop. If however, your CD collection centres around Travis, Moby and similar coffee table classics, you're going to feel right at home . . .

The studied guitar and sparse Hammond of opener Slow Down could quite easily have been stolen from Pink Floyd - except Floyd never had a singer quite like Skye. Half-way between The Cardigans' Nina Persson and ex-Sneaker Pimp Kelli Ali, her vocals are both distinctive and impressive.
    Some of Charango's best moments are its collaborations. Despite strong Skye-only material like Otherwise and Public Displays Of Affection, it's Women Lose Weight - with notorious rapper Slick Rick - and What New York Couples Fight About - with Lambchop's Kurt Wagner - that really leave a mark.
    So, worthwhile? It would be easy to dislike this because the genre is so toothless. However, the songs are well-written and the musicianship is pretty damn faultless. Despite being aimed squarely between the eyes of coffee table connoisseurs, I have to admit that Charango is a very impressive album.

:: Rowan Shaeffer

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