Props today go to a fellow WordPress music blogger. It was JC over at The (New) Vinyl Villain who got me hooked up here. Back in November when everything teetered on a precipice and looked down into a lava flow of garbage options and impending doom he let guest writer Johnny The Friendly Lawyer post a rather inspirational post titled A Letter From America. It was optimistic and cryptic and riddled with links to mp3 downloads. I was off work sick with the worst case of food poisoning I’d ever experienced in the days after the US election. Banished to the back room for 5 days to sweat it out and not infect the rest of the house (a chronic case of something else during a pandemic). Sleep patterns went all weird 48 hours in. So I might be awake at 3am for an hour and a half reading about the end of the free world before cramping up and blacking out for another 12 hours. It was trippy. A Letter From America was one of the things I read during one of those lucid moments So like Raoul Duke and his attorney Dr. Gonzo they picked me up on a desolate track gave me a ride to the heart of the American nightmare. My deepest thanks to you both.
I’ve always wanted to get into Morphine. Ho ho the fun we could have with this one. I mean the band. I’ve seen them mentioned in all the right places and thought ‘That band sound like I would like them’. Right in the middle of the WordPress article in question there was a link to All Wrong. I clicked on it to listen as I continued read but I don’t recall hearing the song at the time. I slipped back into fever dream and when I awoke things were looking up.
Months later my creaking old laptop is in dire need of some housekeeping and I notice a little pocket of mp3’s in a folder that have yet to be uploaded to the player. I have a dull recollection of the origin. I’ve also read the excellent ICA (Imaginary Compilation Album) Post for Morphine on The (New) Vinyl Villain and have made my mind up this band is for me.
I have since procured my own copy of Cure For Pain the parent album for this track. It’s a nigh on 30 year old gem. This track in particular has a thick sinister groove that fuzzes and buzzes around the bottom end of your speakers like a sleazy cartoon monkey. Speaking of monkeys. I did know this band after all. Back in my university days I took a girl to the local art house cinema to see a movie called Spanking The Monkey. It was not a suitable date movie. It was QUITE the controversial movie. It had a pretty impressive soundtrack album. Morphine are on that sucker. They get whole scenes of that film. The Spanking The Monkey Tape got played semi regularly in the pub I worked in. I’d just missed out on the fact it was actually the Cure For Pain album. Until now. I’ve got pennies dropping all over the shop.
So morphine monkey molestation metaphors aside what does All Wrong sound like? Lead sax, jazz drum breaks, low croon vocals and a dexterous groove that breaks out into a swampy solo of lounge jazz that would make Gil Evans blush. I love this naughty Low Rock take on what dance music should sound like. I could get down to this. They’re like dEus meeting Low in the alley behind a bar to make out while their other halves are inside on a double date. Like Suicide in a sharp suit leading a funeral march for Iggy Pop’s Party album. When The Cure were doing groovy on Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, Morphine would have been an ideal support group.
I’ve learned since catching up on this download and finding a copy of Cure For Pain for what ails me that tragedy struck the band after they signed for Dreamworks Records. The lost their lead singer Mark Sandman to a heart attack over 20 years ago. He died on stage in 1999. So they remain preserved in the amber of the 1990’s as a wonderful and unique rock and roll diversion. I’m glad I finally got my dose. I’m feeling better.
Bass, Drums, Sax. It’s a bit more than all right. All Wrong is entirely Correct.