Recorded over the course of two years at his home studio, the late Mark Sandman's final musical statement is a dark, gritty testimony to his visionary genius. Morphine's "The Night," the trio's sixth, doesn't stray far from the band's patented "low-rock" groove, but the music expands upon that sound with exotic orchestration (Middle Eastern strings, cello, violin) and welcome contributions from John Medeski and founding drummer Jerome Deupree.
"Rope on Fire," with its grand piano touches and three-string "tritar," is a laid-back triumph. The detuned bass lines of "Souvenir" segue nicely into the party anthem "Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer."
A certain gloom is attached to this release -- Sandman's sudden death was only last July. Still, Morphine's soothing subsonic swagger will leave you smiling.