Morphine At Your Service

On "French Fries with Pepper," from Morphine's 1997 LP, Like Swimming, Mark Sandman hoped he'd be "sitting on a back porch, drinking wine on 09/09/99." Tragically, Sandman passed away on a stage in Italy a mere 66 days before that iconic date. At Your Service collects a sizeable chunk of the band's fabled 60-plus unreleased songs, along with alternate tracks and choice live performances. Of the unreleased 15, songs like rhythm-heavy blues throwback "Bye Bye Johnny" and the smoke filtered, velvety "Shade (I Know You Part IV)" expertly demonstrate why Morphine remain one of the most mature and exploratory bands in the alternative rock genre. Unfortunately, At Your Service gets bogged down due to the puzzling decision to inter-cut unreleased tracks with alternate takes and radio sessions. What would have worked as a box-set fails miserably as a two-disc collection. Hardcore fans are much better off with the 1997 odds-and-end collection, B-Sides and Otherwise. (Rykodisc)