Morphine :: Yes

In 1995 and 1996 I was lucky enough to catch Morphine, live, three times during the Yes tour. Truly a club band if there ever was one, Morphine's noir musical vision was all blue cigarette smoke, beat poetry and style. Below, J. Neas reflects on the last great Morphine album - the third in their canon - 1995's Yes. - AD

The '90s. Fabled land of mirth where all sorts of things went right for indie-rock. That may sound a bit odd to say, but there really hasn't been a more commercially open time for music, before or since. (Feel free to argue with me about that in the comments.) The early '90s paved the way for record labels to start grabbing all sorts of names out of the local scenes and granting them national contracts. Sometimes it paid off and sometimes it didn't. But think about it - record stores actually had sections labeled 'alternative,' as if it were some sort of defined genre. You had all sorts of weird, random bands lumped together. It was everything music should be. For awhile.

In the midsts of this golden soup of bands was one in particular who repeatedly stood out in style and substance: Morphine. Armed with a two-string slide bass, a baritone sax, drums and the languid, cool vocals of Mark Sandman, Morphine was unique. By the time their third album, Yes, came about, they had built a sizable cult audience on the back of their previous album, Cure For Pain, selling more than 300,000 copies. Not bad at all for an indie release.

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