Take Morcheeba, add twenty years, minus one Godfrey brother, and you’ve got Skye & Ross. Skye Edwards and Ross Godfrey have been making music together since they were teenagers in Morcheeba; after Ross’ brother left the group, the new duo was renamed and reborn. This group is much like its predecessor: Skye’s perfect vocals over electronic sounds and relaxed trip hop, but now with more acoustic instruments, a crisper sound, and lyrics about unconditional love and forgiveness. Remember the earlier equation, we added 20 years, and it shows. Skye’s son is their drummer, her husband is the bass player, and Ross’s wife performs backing vocals; basically, they are the trip hop Partridge Family. The duo (and their Partridge-y backing band) have just released their new, self-titled album.
Many of the songs are minimalist, super-mellow trip hop. Skye’s vocals get to stand in the spotlight, with plenty of support from pretty backing vocals. The electronics stay in the background and acoustic instruments used to fill in, but it is all used sparingly. Skye’s vocals get so crisp on some songs (especially “Clear My Mind,”) that it sounds as if you are inside the microphone as she enunciates each syllable. The album was recorded using a lot of old school equipment and without autotune, so Skye’s voice is just that gorgeous.
The album isn’t especially cohesive; while Skye’s voice is the centerpiece of each song and they all stay very chill, each song bring different influences. Some tracks get a little funky, one has reverb-rich guitar solo. Some of the songs just don’t really fit in, like the aforementioned “Clear My Mind.” It’s totally acoustic (with just Skye’s voice and an acoustic guitar;) it’s missing that cohesive element with the other tracks. The opening track, “Repay the Savior,” doesn’t even really fit with itself. It’s a minimalist song with some stormy electronic sounds happening in the background, with choir-like backing vocals and some spiritual lyrics. The choir-like backing vocals and organ sound return for “Medicine,” making the positive lyrics sound like they could very well be about a spiritual love. “Light of Gold” is the first single and the stand-out song on the album. It has a lot more electronic sounds in the background than the other tracks, but it works when mixed with the warm sounds of organic, acoustic instruments.
The lyrics stay very positive. There is a lot about unconditional love, forgiveness, support, and spirituality. The positivity and love matches Skye’s velvety vocals and the chill sound of the album; lyrics about discord really wouldn’t allow you to relax the way this album does. Still, cynics probably won’t love all of these warm and fuzzy lyrics. “Medicine” has lines about how the subject is the medicine that helps, heals, and improves her, which made this cynic gag a little. It lacks the charm of “Sexual Healing,” which could take on the same idea without these overly syrupy lines.
Overall, listening to this album is like being in a long hug. It’s pretty relaxing and positive to most, but for non-huggers, it won’t be all that enjoyable. If you liked Morcheeba but now live a life with more positivity and less drugs, this chill hug could be for you. But for the sad, cynical, and edgy, this will be like an overly-long hug with a perma-upbeat coworker you don’t like all that much, but you have to be polite so you let it happen.