Whats worse than being a excellent album released by a great band which gets little to no attention? Why being a great album released by a great band which gets no attention at all of course! This is the case with Morphine's Like Swimming
which although shadowed by this being their first album not released on longtime partners Rykodisc, it still holds up to the same band standards. Instead, this is their first major label release under Dreamworks; and yet even with the bigger budget and more notable label supporting it, the band still failed to launch on a popularity scale, but that's alright as the group has shown in the past.
Once the sub minute opener, Lilah
plays with its slow roaming bass melody with Dana Colley playing in the distant background and its overall ambiance, the alum is ready to begin. After the brief instrumental, we are met with Potion
which sounds like a bolt of lightning compared to the grassy and sunny landscape we just arrived from. A loud and charismatic line from Colley starts us off on top of Conway's snare and hi-hat floor; where Sandman stands and utilizes his more storytelling tone of voice. Repetition is the main idea put to work while writing this song, stating phrases twice and after each other is different than the straightforward approach, it has less written down, but what is written down is more noted. While "Potion"
is sort of a filler track (two straight to begin an album? Unheard of) it isn't bad filler and instead gives leverage to "I Know You (Part III)"
to be a better straightforward song.
And indeed it is, putting a cap on the slow moving series that is the "I Know You" songs (which both can be found on the album B-Sides and Otherwise
) and turning both the fragments into a whole song. Featuring Colley in the background playing with Conway as Sandman takes center stage and so do his words revolving once again around the opposite sex. " Give me a kiss hello goodbye/What's the difference you just end everything you say with a smile/Wave goodbye hello there's that look in your eye"
sayeth the ladies man complete with romantic but still tough guy surroundings. Wow, that last description was horrible, but it really is hard to put the unique aesthetically stunning sound of Morphine into words, want proof? Read the previous sentence.
As mentioned in the short summary of this album, there are some great songs on here, one is "Murder for the Money"
. Taking on the serious subject of being a hit man means being real low, so for the music to this the bass must be the main instrument, making Conway and Colley mere compliment instruments, taking on Sandman's dominant bass and voice. Taking the negative approach is this song, and it shows through the bleak lyrics unless you're a murderer. "Murder every inch of the goddamn way/Murder in the morning yea murder in the night/Murder every single second of your god forsaken live"
Being able to switch from serious to playful and to have both styles on one record really adds to it, especially when the styles are so balanced and fans of both can get something out of the release. Enter French Fries With Pepper
, it plays the comic relief role and does it well also, immediately following the previous serious tune. The fast tune is followed by one that is a lot slower, featuring cute lyrics as opposed to murderous ones. "...on 7-7-77 eleven years later still don't know any better/by 8-8-88 it's way too late for me to change/and by 9-9-99 I hope I'm sittin' on the back porch drinkin' red wine singin' Ohhhhhh French Fries with Pepper!"
. Indeed multiple plays on numbers, and a good moral recovery, this song is light but it isn't filler, and it wasn't made to be skipped over.
The fourth installment of the Morphine legacy has some spare parts, but the ones that make up the substance of this album are sweet cuts. The band will be remembered for having a lot of styles and sounds, many of those are explored here.