Not to overly fetishize the notion of vinyl, but if any album belongs on wax — with all its clicks and pops and dusty imperfections — it has to be Morphine’s sophomore breakthrough, Cure for Pain. Other than a rare, 20-year-old Brazilian pressing (copies of which fetch $200-plus on eBay), the 1993 album has previously never been pressed to vinyl in the U.S.
But Light in the Attic — the Seattle-based label that specializes in reissues — has stepped up to fill the void, releasing a remastered, 180-gram version on its Modern Classics Recordings imprint. The reissue includes new liner notes and interviews with surviving band members.
It was, tragically, in July 1999 that frontman Mark Sandman collapsed on stage in Italy and died of a heart attack at the age of 46. (I had a ticket to see Morphine and Soul Coughing on Aug. 1 of the same year in Austin.) Between this reissue and the documentary, Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story (read a Q&A with the filmmakers here), the off-beat Boston trio could reach a new/wider audience, and deservedly so.
Without the use of and need for an electric guitar, Morphine branded its form of “low rock” around Sandman’s homemade two-string slide bass, accompanied by Dana Colley on sax (long before Destroyer, Bon Iver and the like found it cool) and Billy Conway on drums. Almost twenty years later, Cure for Pain sounds as moody and original as it did when I was 16 years old — but now, in my mid-30s, Sandman’s lyrics feel a little more real.
I can’t wait to get my hands on this reissue and my eyes on the documentary. Check out the trailer for it below: