Morphine-like_swimming_span3
November 1997

Morphine
Like Swimming
Dreamworks/Rykodisc

Imagery counts for a lot with the minimalist band Morphine, who we can safely credit as the first band in rock and roll history consisting of a two-stringed slide bass, bari sax and drums. There, on the back of their latest album, are singer-songwriter Mark Sandman, saxist Dana Colley, and drummer Billy Conway, submerged in water and looking distorted but not unhappy. So it goes with this music, with Sandman singing gutsy art-R&B tunes with a voice like a gruffer, bad apple variation of Mark Knopfler. On the title cut, "Potion," and an absurd ditty like "French Fries w/ Pepper," the band projects its riff-based sound, without need for apology or explanation. Despite the peculiarity of the instrumentation, Morphine is no novelty act, but a new sound tapping into some fundamental resonance, some funk truths, lurking beneath rock legacy. In a real, hands-on way, it recognizes that, contrary to what rock lore would have us believe, real music power often comes from below.

Originally published in November 1997
BUY THIS ALBUM from Amazon.com
STREAM THIS CD from Rhapsody.com

Add a Comment

You need to log in to comment on this article. No account? No problem!