Charango is the fourth album to be released by Morcheeba (released no 1st July), and there have been great expectations and a number of questions raised by it's impending release, after the new direction they took for the third album, 'Fragments of Freedom'. Would Morcheeba find another new direction? Would they go back to their roots? Would they continue in the more upbeat, poppy path they had taken? Thankfully, the answer is a kind of combination of the two options.
Morcheeba have realised what they do best: Hip-Hop with a laid-back, trippy edge. The first track, 'Slow Down', sets the scene perfectly, it's so laid-back as to be almost horizontal! It's also a welcome return of Skye's original vocal style, which is haunting, chilling and beautiful all at once.
However, this isn't simply a rehash of their older works because Morcheeba are definitely trying new things, most notably on the title track, which actually derives it's name from an instrument used on it - the Charango is a small guitar traditionally made of an armadillo shell! Other tracks which show off new styles are 'Public displays of affection' and 'What New York Couples Fight About' (A duet with Lambchop's Kurt Wagner.) Other highlights of the CD include the sublime 'Aqualung' and the new single 'Otherwise'.
On the whole, this is their most organic sounding album, it is both a return to form and wholly original. Full marks for Morcheeba - their most accomplished work yet.