Fate can be a funny thing. While many Asian-based fans were left distraught at a series of cancelled gigs back in May 2013, Blur used the free-time to begin a process of song-writing that would eventually lead to their new but clearly un-planned LP ‘The Magic Whip’. The spur-of-the moment sessions, followed by a sprinkling of Graham Coxon and Stephen Street fairy-dust, have unexpectedly delivered an album containing crisp and spontaneous content that should appeal to fans, old and new alike.
Importantly, this album is not a return to the halcyon Brit-Pop days. Those days, and their accompanying material, are left purely for the festival and arena tours. Surprisingly, for a band who had not recorded as a four-piece for 16 years, this album is a different sort of animal; combining idea’s culminated over that period. Of course the core Blur sound remains throughout (Albarn’s distinctive vocals and Coxon’s effervescent guitar) and the band do acknowledge their 90’s material briefly with ‘I Broadcast’ and the melodic ‘Lonesome Street’ but with regards to the remainder of the LP it does its best to change direction and give the listener something slightly different that we wouldn’t normally associate with the group.
The bands eighth album offers Spanish acoustic guitars, drum machines (‘Thought I Was A Spaceman’) and random samples, synths and multi-layered vocals (‘New World Towers’) to ensure this LP offers something extra to its predecessors. Certainly the band has toyed with these sort of idea’s before but this seems more of a finished article. It’s an effortless journey through the twelve tracks that, for the most, doesn’t disappoint.
While it’s certainly not the bands best album (you still need to revisit ‘Modern Life is Rubbish’ to experience that) this release towers above anything since. This is a songwriter’s album … it needs no bells-and-whistles, band feuds or the ability to outsell a Manchester based competitor to come to one’s attention. For a band that have been together since 1990 it remarkably still shows a growing maturity and sets things up nicely for studio album number nine.
The full track-listing for ‘The Magic Whip’ is as follows…
‘New World Towers’
‘Ice Cream Man’
‘Thought I Was a Spaceman’
‘My Terracotta Heart’
‘There Are Too Many of Us’
You can see Blur live at one of the following shows…
June 13 – Isle of Wight Festival – Isle Of Wight BUY TICKETS