Back in ‘98 Morcheeba were as essential as 24-hour petrol stations after another late night out. It was the year that saw them release Big Calm - their humongously popular second effort that spawned a glut of hideous ‘Chill Out’ compilations. “We invented chill out,” claims Godfrey brother Ross. Dubious claim it may be, but Morcheeba were certainly inspirational to a whole generation of musicians and songwriters.
The Antidote claims to be another classic ‘all back to mine’ therapy CD, but it has a quicker tempo and a more up-beat vibe, and wait, who’s that singing? The gorgeously seductive tones of Skye Edwards have been replaced by the dynamic ‘psych-soul’ voice of ex-Noonday Underground singer Daisy Martey. Accompanying the Godfrey brother’s mesmerising psychedelic sound is not an easy mission. Skye is a tough act to follow, for many fans the melancholy innocence of her voice personified Morcheeba’s soul.
But that was then and after years of touring and decadence it seems Morcheeba have grown up. Despite her relative inexperience, Daisy sings with a confidence belying her tender years. Once you’ve overcome the initial shock of Skye’s departure, you are free to concentrate on listening to a fine record. All the drums were recorded live giving The Antidote a rougher, more rugged edge. And like Big Calm the tracks were written in an intensely focused environment encouraging creativity and preventing inappropriate deliberation.
Daisy is classically trained and her voice complements the new grown-up themes of finding freedom and dealing with relationships that run through the album. Daisy is an accomplished singer, but Morcheeba are not the same band without Skye. In writing The Antidote The Godfrey brothers tried to recreate the desperation and hunger that fuelled the seminal Big Calm. Desperate and hungry they may be, but Big Calm it isn’t.