By the time Blur reconvened to record Think Tank in 2002, both Graham Coxon and Damon Albarn had begun crafting distinct identities as solo artists. Where Coxon committed his jagged, lo-fi compositions to a bedroom four-track, Albarn's ambitions for musical collaboration continued to expand, thanks to his Oxfam-sponsored travels. Revitalized by a new set of influences, Albarn captained Blur toward looser song structures, a greater reliance on sampling and keyboards and, thanks to Coxon's departure early in the Think Tank sessions, a less guitar-based sound. It's a bewitching, modest album rich with texture and imagination. At times, its triumphs are deeply unexpected: A Moroccan orchestra accompanies them on the lovely single "Out of Time" while a dubby ambience suffuses "Ambulance." Yet they still sound like Blur. The trio looked elsewhere to replace Coxon's lost heft: "Brothers and Sisters" is built on layers of delicately overdubbed vocals; bright, '80s synths shoot through the joyous "Moroccan Peoples Revolutionary Bowls Club"; and Fatboy Slim's machinery helps fill out the chaos of the unusually generic "Crazy Beat." "So I wean myself off slowly," Albarn sings with an affected airiness on the radiant "Sweet Song." He's anticipating the band's impending dissolution. But between Think Tank's fragile, globetrotting sound and its weary, lightly post-9/11 lyricism, his latest reinvention was already under way.
By Hua Hsu on 07.31.12 in Icons
There is a clip of Damon Albarn being interviewed in August of 1995, on the eve of his band's chart showdown against Oasis. This is the moment right before "Britpop" becomes both an inescapable and utterly meaningless te...
By Marc Hogan on 02.19.15 in News
Blur's recent reunion has borne fruit in the form of a new album. The Magic Whip will be available in the United States on April 28 via Warner Bros., the band has announced. It's the Britpop icons' first proper full-leng...
By Marc Hogan on 01.21.15 in News
Damon Albarn has gone down the rabbit hole. The Blur and Gorillaz leader wrote the music for an upcoming musical based on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, as NME reports. Titled wonder.land, the musical will debut...
By Marc Hogan on 01.16.15 in News
Every year around the time the Academy Awards nominees are announced, the U.K. equivalent of the Grammys hands out its nominations, too. The results for 2015 are something of a mixed bag, highlighted by FKA twigs' intens...