A new Roots Manuva single is always worthy of a celebration in my book. Whether his own material or a collaboration, he manages to nail it every single time. He has the knack of working with the most interesting artists out there, and when the artist he is collaborating with happens to be Morcheeba, you expect something pretty special. This single certainly delivers that Roots Manuva and Morcheeba magic!
Better still, this single marks the return of Morcheeba as it’s the title track of their brand new album “Blaze Away”. It’s their first for five years, and 9th of their 10+ Million selling career! Not only that, but they are on a massive headliner and festival world tour taking in 40 shows across 22 countries.
The collaboration with Roots Manuva apparently took place after a chance meeting at a show in Moscow, with Ross Godfrey (multi-instrumentalist and producer) inviting him to their studio when they were back in London. Seemingly, after coming up with the lyrics, Rodney managed to lose them (as you do!) and had to write new ones half an hour before recording began! According to Ross “he wrote new lyrics that had such incredible energy that they completely changed the dynamic of the album. Roots said in rap what we had been trying to express more wistfully. He cuts straight to the chase, which inspired us to be more raw and forthright.”
Another collaboration on the album is a French Language duet with French star and one-time partner of Vanessa Paradis, Benjamin Biolay, called “Paris-sur-Mer”. With such a massive following in France, it seemed natural to have a French language song on the album, Ross asked his wife who is French who was the heir to Serge Gainsbourg, she suggested Benjamin and the rest is history as they say.
Other singles from the album include the opening track “Never Undo” and “It’s Summertime”.
UK festivals confirmed so far include Boomtown, Standon Calling, Rhythmtree, Oxford’s Common People, Glasgow’s Fiesta X Fold, and Beat-herder in Lancashire.
There are no North West headline shows confirmed yet, but keep an eye out, as dates are still being added. You can also catch them at the album launch on June 1st at HMV 363 Oxford Street, London.
I saw them about 15 years ago in France (ooh get me, international jet-setter! Actually I lived there at the time, so it was a local gig!) around the time of Charango. Gotan Project were on support and they totally blew me away, an amazingly hypnotic set, so much so that I thought nothing could beat them, but then Skye Edwards began to sing! If you think she sounds great on albums, you need to catch her live – trust me, what an amazing voice!
Ross’s brother Paul has left the band to work on other projects, but the band has become more of a family affair with Skye’s 21 year old son Jaega on drums, her husband Steve Gordon on bass having toured with Morcheeba in the 00s, and Skye’s model daughter Kiki sings backing vocals on the ballad “Sweet L.A.”
With over 3 million Morcheeba fans across Spotify, Facebook and Shazam, not to mention 700K monthly listeners on Spotify, to say the new album, their first in 5 years, is eagerly anticipated is an understatement!
I was privileged enough to have a preview of it, and I can happily confirm that it’s everything you would hope a Morcheeba album would be.
From the first listen, it’s unmistakably Morcheeba. They haven’t done anything daft like re-invent themselves as a death metal band or anything like that – it ain’t broke so no need to fix it. This is classic Morcheeba, fresh, positive, experimental and playing with genres, without straying too far from the winning formula that makes us love them. Not quite as mellow as their early “chill out” albums, this is more upbeat, with even some big fuzzy guitar riffs. As far as I’m concerned, it’s certainly up there with their best work to date.
If you’re a fan or even just curious, you’ll want to make a note of the date, 1st June – is when you can listen to the album yourself.
Also, keep an ear out for their Ibizia Session on BBC Radio 2 as well as coverage on BBC 6 Music.