Morcheeba is a British band, mixing influences from trip hop, rock, adult contemporary, folk-rock and downtempo. They have produced eight albums since 1995, two of which reached the UK top ten.
Originally from Hythe, Kent the Godfrey brothers (lyricist and DJ-producer Paul Godfrey and multi instrumentalist Ross Godfrey) moved to London when they were in their late teens. In 1995, the brothers were introduced to Skye Edwards after hearing her sing at a party. This led to the formation of Morcheeba. Together with engineer Pete Norris, the trio began producing tracks at their home studio.
They were eventually signed to China Records by Angus Blair (A&R) and the band released their debut Trigger Hippie EP, in October 1995. At the same time, Paul Ablett came onboard as manager. The band's debut album, Who Can You Trust? was released in April 1996 and fitted into the trip hop genre through a combination of Paul Godfrey's hip hop roots, Ross Godfrey's psychedelic rock influences and Edwards' soul-styled vocals. A second single Tape Loop appeared in July 1996. The band began to play live around Europe and North America augmented by a rotating number of hired hands on stage. At this point, the band had outgrown the home recording set-up and the brothers purchased their own studio. In 1997, they contributed to the David Byrne album "Feelings" participating in the recording and production of the release.
With a more professional recording set-up, the brothers began developing their ideas for a second album. Much of the material had already been written and with Norris involved again, the band moved towards a more mainstream sound. At the same time, Edwards appeared on the BBC charity single Perfect Day. The follow-up, 1998's Big Calm, moved slightly away from trip-hop towards a more pop-oriented, song-based sound. This was exemplified by the band's remaking of "Moog Island" (a song from the previous album) in a more summery, upbeat style, with the new title of "The Music That We Hear". One of the album's singles, "The Sea", became a radio favourite. Edwards considered the trip-hop label as 'kind of dated. It's more like a fashion thing. I never thought that we were in fashion, because when you're in fashion, you can only ever go out'. The album proved to be a big seller and ensured Morcheeba's success as a breakthrough act. In 1998, Morcheeba collaborated with Hubert Laws to record for the Red Hot Organization's compilation album Red Hot + Rhapsody, a tribute to George Gershwin, which raised money for various charities devoted to increasing AIDS awareness and fighting the disease.
In 2000, Morcheeba released their third album, Fragments of Freedom. This repeated the sales success of Big Calm but received a less positive critical response. The band's fourth album, Charango, was released in 2002, and spawned several singles including "Otherwise," "Way Beyond," and "Undress Me Now". In an indication of what would follow, several tracks on the album did not feature Edwards, and were instead written with and sung by Lambchop's Kurt Wagner or by emcees Pace Won and Slick Rick. In January 2003 the band undertook their first significant tour of the US since 1998. In 2001 the Godfrey brothers contributed three songs to the Jim White album No Such Place.
By the end of 2003, the Godfrey brothers dismissed Edwards from Morcheeba, citing creative and personal differences. Edwards received 'a phone call from our manager saying that it was over, and it was a relief to think we didn’t have to continue'. She was under the impression that the band had ceased the operate. A greatest hits compilation, Parts of the Process, helped to retain interest in the band and featured two new tracks - "What's Your Name" (featuring a rhyming cameo from Big Daddy Kane) and "Can't Stand It." At around the same time, they released the live DVD Morcheeba: From Brixton to Beijing. A decade later Ross Godfrey reflected on this period saying that "We just felt like we couldn’t breathe, I’d been in the band and on the road since I was 18, so to have any kind of break from that was just amazing".
The two brothers reunited the year after, leaving Paul to explain that 'Ross and I realised that Morcheeba was kind of our family company, and that we wanted very much to keep it going, hence the change'. In 2005 Morcheeba released their fifth studio (and first post-Skye Edwards) album, The Antidote. Daisy Martey (formerly of the band Noonday Underground) was recruited to replace Edwards as the album vocalist. However, Martey's period with the band was brief and she was sacked in the middle of the promotional tour, to be replaced by Jody Sternberg. Martey subsequently sued the band for breach of contract and defamation. Sternberg's own tenure with the band was similarly brief, and she only appeared to have been part of the band to fulfil tour dates. The entire episode 'was difficult to say the least. It left us in near-ruin' according to Ross.
After a break of several years, Morcheeba released their sixth studio album, Dive Deep in February 2008. On this album, the Godfrey brothers fell back into their role as producers, selecting five vocalists to perform their songs. The folk-rock singer Judie Tzuke, Norwegian born Thomas Dybdahl and blues singer/guitarist Bradley Burgess appeared as lead vocalists together with the Korean-American rapper Cool Calm Pete, and French singer Manda (Amanda Zamolo). Both Manda and Burgess toured with Morcheeba as lead singers on their 2008 tour.
As a solo artist, Edwards remained with the same management company as Morcheeba, which led to a chance meeting in their London offices sometime in 2009. Edwards and the Godfrey brothers met again to discuss her possible involvement in a new project. Initially the singer was hesitant and pointed out that she 'really enjoyed doing my solo stuff and writing my own lyrics'. Eventually Edwards rejoined the band and the trio began work on a new album. With Edwards still on tour promoting her solo album, Ross Godfrey living in California and Paul Godfrey in London, the band didn't 'spent much time in the same room together' while recording. On 12 February 2010, NME revealed that Edwards was once again working with the band, which was confirmed by Paul Godfrey the day after on the band's Myspace blog. Edwards made her live return with the band at the Caprices Festival, Switzerland on 9 April 2010. Edwards role in the band changed as she had 'become more confident in my ability as a singer and a songwriter' and found that during the recording process they were 'more honest with each other, and [thus] we have a more honest record'.
Morcheeba released their seventh album Blood Like Lemonade on PIAS in June 2010, preceded by the single 'Even Though'. It was produced by Paul Godfrey, who described the album as 'a warm, fuzzy blanket of psychedelia' while Edwards found the lyrics as 'having dark themes' she also remarked how the brothers had made her part of the creative process. An eighteenth-month tour followed that saw the band play around the Americas and Europe.
Their eighth album, Head Up High was released on October 14, 2013 again on PIAS. When touring the band currently consists of Sky Edwards (vocals), Ross Godfrey (guitars) Steve Gordon (bass), Richard Milner (keyboards), Martin Carling (drums) and James Anthony (decks).
- "Never an Easy Way" (from Who Can You Trust? release) was used in the opening sequence of the episode "Passion" (season 2, episode 17) of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, partly under the narrative voiceover of the character Angel/Angelus (played by David Boreanaz).
- "Everybody Loves a Loser" was featured in the first season for the television series, Hung, and was included on its soundtrack album issued in June 2010.
- "Be Yourself" was covered by the top 5 contestants of American Idol: Season 10. The recording was used in the show's weekly Ford commercial.
The name "Morcheeba" comes from the initials "MOR" (indicating Middle Of the Road) and "cheeba", a slang term for cannabis.
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications
Who Can You Trust?
Fragments of Freedom
Blood Like Lemonade
Head Up High
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart.|
Compilation albums and others
- Beats & B-Sides (1996)
- La Boule Noire (1998) (live bootleg)
- Back to Mine (2001)
- Parts of the Process (The Very Best of Morcheeba) (2003) - #6 UKUK: Gold
- The Platinum Collection (2005)
- Get Mashed (by Kool DJ Klear) (2005) (unofficial bootleg)
- The Works: A 3 CD Retrospective (2007)
|1996||"Trigger Hippie"||40||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Who Can You Trust?|
|"Never an Easy Way"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1997||"The Music That We Hear (Moog Island)"||47||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Shoulder Holster"||53||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Big Calm|
|"Let Me See"||46||—||—||—||46||—||—||—|
|"Part of the Process"||38||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Summertime"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Red Hot + Rhapsody: The Gershwin Groove|
|2000||"Rome Wasn't Built in a Day"||34||—||48||82||2||—||33||—||Fragments of Freedom|
|2001||"World Looking In"||48||—||36||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Undress Me Now"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2003||"What's Your Name" (feat. Big Daddy Kane)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Parts of the Process|
|2005||"Wonders Never Cease"||86||—||—||86||—||114||—||—||The Antidote|
|"Everybody Loves a Loser"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2008||"Enjoy the Ride"||182||—||—||—||—||163||—||—||Dive Deep|
|"Gained the World"||—||—||—||—||—||180||—||—|
|2010||"Even Though"||—||—||—||—||—||251||—||—||Blood Like Lemonade|
|"Blood Like Lemonade"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2013||"Gimme Your Love"||—||123||—||—||—||—||—||—||Head Up High|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart.|