Although the moody mid-'90s subgenre known as trip-hop is still influential, most of its originators (notably Tricky, Portishead and Massive Attack) are dormant. One act from the trip-hop boomlet that continues to be active is Morcheeba, but its impressive sixth album, "The Antidote," reveals that the British trio has a new voice: Daisey Martey (late of Noonday Underground) has replaced Skye Edwards, and composer-producers Paul and Ross Godfrey have adapted ably to Martey's more robust delivery.
As the opening "Wonders Never Cease" shows, Morcheeba still has an affinity for the sauntering lounge sound that was integral to trip-hop. But the group has abandoned most of its former style's other ingredients in favor of upbeat music rooted in classic rock and soul. Now preferring a live-band approach that's heavy on guitar and horns, the Godfreys jettison dub-reggae rhythms and play down electronic timbres. Such spry tunes as "Daylight Robbery" and "Living Hell" recall the hybrid of psychedelic rock and gospel-rooted R&B that was devised in the late 1960s, before the two went their separate ways in the '70s. "The Antidote" is not only a solid set of well-crafted songs but also the first album on which Morcheeba defines a subgenre of its own.
-- Mark Jenkins
Appearing Wednesday at the 9:30 club with Gabby La La.