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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes? Yes!, 28 Nov 2002
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This review is from: Yes (Audio CD)
Dark, sultry, sexy, dirty are all words that spring to mind when I listen Morphine, and all in a good sense. They can be described as musical noir, because their songs deal with those back alleys and shadowed places where creatures of society seem to thrive.
The question I originally asked myself was, how much sound can vocals, a two-string slide bass guitar, baritone saxophone and drums make? Surely it couldn't be that much? I was wrong.
The album kicks off with Dana Colley trilling his baritone right before the rock riff in 'Honey White', and you suddenly know this album is going to be an experience. It has probably to do with the fact that the two main instruments happen to be bass instruments, but there is so much power in that riff that you would be fooled into thinking there were more instruments involved (although they do call on help from friends in some of the other tracks). The theme of the song also gives way to the overall tone of the album: Honey White makes a deal with the devil for some angel food (drugs), and he gets her in the end. It's not exactly your Whitney Houston lovey-dovey stuff.
The penultimate track, 'Free Love' is an ominous sounding leviathan, with Colley's saxophone being run through what seems like endless amounts of distortion and Mark Sandman's vocals cry as he sings 'Free love, don't bank on it baby'. It feels as if everything is going out of control, but it fits well with the singer's lyrics of yearning and uncertainty. The last track, 'Gone for Good', is a little acoustic number with just Sandman and his guitar. With such a consistent tone having been set up throughout the whole album, it seems out of place and rather clichéd to have a quiet number tacked onto the end. Maybe it could be seen as an example of how this band can stretch out from its usual setup, but it doesn't seem necessary.
There are some songs that stand above the rest. 'Scratch' and the title track, 'Yes', both have nice funk rhythms. 'All Your Way' starts off with Sandman's slide bass for a couple of bars: reminiscent of something Bukka White or Missippi Fred McDowell would play, and again has a great rhythm. In addition, 'I Had my Chance' has an exotic feel that gives it a little twist. However, 'Super Sex' seems to capture what this band is really about. A driving bass riff and hard harmonised saxophone playing with solid drums (played by Billy Conway) combine to capture a glimpse of seedy urban living. The chorus becomes slightly chaotic and stays on one chord as Sandman repeats his mantra 'Automatic taxi stop electric cigarette love baby hotel rock'n'roll the discothèque electric super sex'.
This album is surprisingly good considering the limitations one would expect from a minimalist three-piece band, and it has to be said that it makes for very interesting listening. Sandman's lyrics are obscure and off-beat at times, but then again, would you expect anything conventional after looking at the band line up? It's a great introduction to a very underrated group.
If Raymond Chandler wrote music, it would be this.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great entry into the world of Morphine, 11 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Yes (Audio CD)
This was the first Morphine album I bought, and it's a fantastic starting point into the style of this criminally overlooked band. A sax, a bass, some drums provoke a sound that seems to rummage around in your trousers. Less dense than "The Night", (although that too is well worth a listen) "Yes" is alternative, poppy and one to put on at parties after everyone's bored with tired disco and Radiohead. The only reason I didn't give it five stars was due to the obscure and impenetrable "The Jury" which sticks out like a sore thumb in its acid-trip poetry. Otherwise, a great album.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 Oct 2014
This review is from: Yes (Audio CD)
Fantastic, underrated band.
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