Now on their second album since original vocalist Skye Edwards rejoined the band, trip-hop veterans Morcheeba stretch their wings on Head Up High, an album that follows its guest stars into outside genres and generally messes about with the group's patented sound. It's obviously an inspirational move, as "Face of Danger" with rapper Chali 2na is a instantly gripping 2013 neo-disco near-sequel to Grace Jones' declarative hit "Demolition Man," while the pride-injected "To Be" with U.K. hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks gets that dirt off the shoulder in the coolest of styles. "Finally Found You" with White Denim's James Petralli is a solid universal love song that would make the country charts if sung by Parton and Rogers or the R&B charts if sung by Austin and Ingram. The veteran trio is willing to explore on its own too, offering new sound with "Hypnotized," a sultry, sexy creeper readily available whenever Tarantino needs a cool soundtrack for seduction, while "Do You Good" is the kind of restrained electro cool that Goldfrapp used to own exclusively. "Make Believer" offers dub at a wicked dancehall pace, but power ballads aren't a natural fit for the group, as "Call It Love" cries at the sky looking for answers while lurching its way toward the fade-out. Some other experiments only warrant a B or B+ and the whole jumble might feel odd to a newcomer, but since it is mostly returning fans at this late point in the discography, Head Up High earns its title with only one or two flicks of the skip button.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries