Review - Big Calm

Artist: Morcheeba

The mutation of trip-hop into this year's reactionary "don't label me" movement has left groups like Massive Attack and Portishead searching for a new strain of credibility on the picked-over plane of electronica.

In accordance, the traditionally more jazz than acid members of Morcheeba seem to have their work cut out for themselves in following up their acclaimed, minimalist debut, "Who Can You Trust?" Although Morcheeba was assured continuing press notoriety from their session work with David Byrne last year, "Big Calm" lives up to its title far more than the music contained within lives up to the hype.

While maintaining a sufficient grasp on ambient spaces and the rhythmic shuffles beneath them, brothers Paul and Ross Godfrey show little interest in progression. Themes of political strife and threadbare ambition are delivered by lazy chanteuse Skye Edwards (check Fear can stop your lovin'/Love can stop your fear from "Fear and Love") but only as far as the calypso backbeats, cinema strings and gratuitous guitar solos can carry them -- not very far in this case.

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