Morphine "Cure For Pain"
FORMAT | LP
On this album, Morphine expand their unique sound, while sticking to their trademark principle of subtraction. With the sensual title track as a plea for relief in a world that offers none ("Someday there'll be a cure for pain/ That's the day I throw my drugs away," goes the chorus), through the down 'n' out fatalism of "In Spite of Me," into "Thursday", a tale of infidelity and jealousy, all the way to the Muddy-Waters-on-Ganja ruminations of "Head With Wings," Morphine pulls emotional clarity out of the musical back alleys they frequent.
Putting a twist on the classic rock trio format, Sandman plays a homemade two-string slide bass of which he is the world's sole practitioner. "My fingers never touch the fretboard," he says with pride. "My model is a Premier with both strings tuned to the same note. I don't know why I picked this bass, maybe 'cause it was so....freaky lookin', I suppose."
CURE FOR PAIN features several guest musicians, including former Treat Her Right drummer Billy Conway on three tracks. (Conway has since replaced Jerome Deupree in the band). The standard Morphine lineup is augmented by the mandolin of Jimmy Ryan of the Blood Oranges on "In Spite of Me" and the percussion of Concussion Ensemble's Ken Winokur on "Miles Davis' Funeral." The album was produced by Paul Q. Kolderie (Radiohead, Buffalo Tom, Firehose) and recorded at Fort Apache Studios in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"Implied grunge" is a term that Sandman tongue-in-cheekedly coined to describe Morphine's wall-of-guitarless sound. But the grabbing lineup is just a small part of the story. As Tower Pulse wrote in a review of GOOD: "Like a generous shot of single-malt scotch on an overcast afternoon in a corner '50s-style cocktail lounge....Morphine starts by warming the belly, then moves to the brain and loins. Its evocative songs rumble through rainy nightime streets like a '61 Plymouth Fury....This is one sensual record."