Blur are back!! And of course by that we mean all of Blur are back! The first new album under the Blur name for 12 years is here and you can breathe out and un-cross your fingers because we’re pleased to say its an absolutely triumphant return. The album perfectly balances a sense of nostalgia for the band’s 90’s heyday with a forward looking sense of adventure reflective of Albarn’s myriad post-Blur activities and his returning cohort Graham Coxon’s less eclectic but equally impressive solo work.
Much of what makes The Magic Whip so impressive is the way it makes you forget how much time has passed, how these songs sound so distinctively Blur and not like an Albarn solo project, yet remind the listener that there really is no typical Blur song… For every Britpop lad anthem there was always a heartbroken ‘No Distance Left To Run’ or madly distorted ‘Beetlebum’ to add depth and interest and The Magic Whip delivers on every front.
Initially recorded during an impromptu break in touring in Hong Kong then whipped (sorry) into shape by regular producer Stephen Street, the album has both a sense of the exotic and the familiar, with the lyrical theme throughout casting Albarn as a forlorn tourist dis-affected by the world he’s travelling through as much as he is drawn by the wonder of the new.
In fact the most rewarding thing to take away from this album isn’t that it marks a triumphant reminder of what made Blur a great band, it suggests that there is more, much more, to come from the group.