Morphine: worrying music from bass-bothering, Southern-Fried lurkers

23rd March 2017

Title: Cure for Pain

Label: Music on Vinyl

The band was formed in 1990 by Mark Sandman (who died in 1999 during a performance in Italy) the vocalist and bass man along with Dana Colley on sax plus Jerone Dupree on drums.

And this band is classed as indie rock.

I’ll give that a few seconds.

That’s right, indie rock and one of the three band members plays sax. There’s no guitar here. The result is that Sandman tends to use his bass as a rhythm guitar while the sax acts as a lead guitar with drums rolling underneath.

Sandman, who played a bass guitar with just two strings, explained that, “Most bass players just play the bottom two strings anyway. And you don’t play chords on a bass. And I was using a slide. I was liking the sounds I was getting with the slide, so I just took everything off at first except one string. And that was pretty much what I used on the first album. Then, by the time we recorded Cure for Pain, I was up to two. And I’ve basically held it there.”

The group has a real ‘Deep South’ feel about it. That rumbling bass smacks of portent and the dark side while the sax is played in such a way as to present danger to the listener. This is a dangerous outfit and no mistake.

The band’s debut album Good was released in 1991, becoming a favourite of college radio while the follow-up, this particular album, hit the streets two years later in 1993 with much improved song quality, backed by a long stint on the road which helped the LP to sell well. They were now officially a ‘cult’ group and this album fulfilled that description ranging from mood extremes but always keeping the dark side in the background…lurking

Reissued with a 4-page, page format insert, the mastering on this release provides a low noise presentation which allows the foreboding and ominous bass frequencies (and there’s plenty of those on this LP) to fully range over the wide soundstage.

A swamp-filled, slightly tense, fog-filled album that will worry you.