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Morphine

The Night  Hear it Now

RS: 3.5of 5 Stars Average User Rating: 3.5of 5 Stars

2000

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Before he died of a heart attack onstage last July, Mark Sandman specialized in leaving things unsaid; he was a master minimalist who created mood as much by what he left out as by what he put in. When he lets out a soft "whooh" at the end of the percolating mood piece "Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer," it qualifies as catharsis by Morphine standards. That said, The Night is the Boston band's most painstakingly layered and ambitious album, with cello, organ and oud expanding on the trio's original sax-y swagger. "Rope on Fire" flirts with raga rock, "Take Me With You" swoons on a carpet of strings, and "Like a Mirror" plays a freak-show nocturne on Tom Waits' Swordfishtrombones. Otherwise, two-string bassist Sandman, reedman Dana Colley and drummer Billy Conway do what they do best: They're an introspective funk band that kills with insinuation rather than booty-bumping bravado, letting the groove moan and the notes slide, slip and finally fade into silence. In these cryptic spaces, bebop and the blues are implied, and Sandman lets unfinished thoughts linger. "I want to be happy, but not all the time," he purrs in "A Good Woman Is Hard to Find," as good a way as any to describe the sensual anxiety that fills Morphine's Night-crawler finale. (RS 835)


GREG KOT



(Posted: Mar 2, 2000)

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