New and Notable Releases

MORCHEEBA Charango (Warner) Rating: NNN Rating: NNN

Timing has never been Morcheeba’s strong point. The British trio arrived on the scene cooing over half-speed beats at the height of the triphop craze and were immediately and rightly dismissed as Portishead rip-off artists with a better weed dealer. Yet while Portishead have long since disappeared, Morcheeba continued to refine their sound over the course of several intriguing records, often mining the same territory but occasionally making a brilliant move. Charango lurches on at a familiar gait for much of its length, mixing epic hiphop beats with Skye Edwards’s airy vocals. The backing beats are scenic enough, but it’s not until the guests start arriving that the album really defines itself. What New York Couples Fight About features Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner mumbling over a disorienting backdrop, but the highlight is Women Lose Weight, a hilarious/horrifying story about a guy who feels compelled to do in his out-of-shape wife, rhymed by an in-form Slick Rick. Worth the price of admission.

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