The original Morcheeba is back, at least for a while
"I remember listening to [the new album] in the car and thinking, 'I wish this were my album,' and then realizing, 'Oh, this is my album,' " Edwards says by phone from her home in England. "I was thinking I was on the outside of the band and not that I was actually part of the band."
Edwards's confusion is understandable, given how the album was made. She, along with the band's founders, brothers Paul and Ross Godfrey, each recorded their parts in three different countries, e-mailing ideas back and forth.
Considering the trio's stormy history, this way of working may have been for the best.
In 1996, the band released its debut album, "Who Can You Trust?," a smooth and loungy affair with sexy pop melodies. Morcheeba's music falls into the genre known as trip-hop, combining soul music with electronica.
After the release of Morcheeba's fourth album, "Charango," Paul Godfrey decided he wanted a break. Edwards began working on her own music but says she didn't intend to leave the band. The brothers "dumped" her anyway, Edwards says ("We were all a little temperamental," she says.), and in 2003 they parted ways.
"We sort of had a divorce," Edwards says. "It [was] like the breakdown of any relationship. People [were] hurt."
Over the next seven years, Morcheeba went through three singers, and Edwards had little contact with the Godfreys. So after she bumped into Ross Godfrey in London two years ago, and he and his brother asked her to return to the band, she told them no. She was still hurt, she says, and happy doing solo work. Eventually though, Edwards decided to go for it.
"I just felt a little stronger, and I felt like I had more to offer and I felt like they knew I had more to offer, so I thought maybe it could work perhaps a bit better."
The three exchanged e-mails about what had happened. "It was less confrontational than actually being in a room together," Edwards says. "It helped us move forward. We had to clear the air to record an album and write stuff."
"Blood Like Lemonade" sounds sparser and simpler than previous albums the three had recorded together. Edwards wrote and recorded the melodies in her living room after she put her kids to bed. "I'm quite shy when I'm in the studio. At home I was able to try out different things that I probably wouldn't have done had I been in the studio," she says. Paul Godfrey wrote the lyrics based on stories and characters Edwards had discussed with him.
In the past, Edwards admits, she may have been intimidated by the brothers.
"I never really would challenge them," she says. "This time around if there was something I wasn't sure about, I would say, 'Oh, I'm not really sure about that' and know that they weren't going to be pissed off."
Fans of the original Morcheeba should take note. The live show includes a full band, but Paul Godfrey is not on the tour, and Edwards isn't sure there will be another album.
"I like the songs on ['Blood Like Lemonade'], and I really like performing," Edwards says. "It's good to be back. And as long as we want to do it, there will be another album." But, she adds, "let's see what happens."
- Moira E. McLaughlin, Feb. 2011