by Rachael Morris
Peppered with familiarity and filled with the beeps, clicks and buzz of the 21st century, Blur’s new album ‘The Magic Whip’ successfully nods to the past and then lets it go. The album was the product of a mistake; it was written over a period of five days when a series of reunion tour dates in Hong Kong were cancelled in 2013. The album is their first as a complete four piece in 16 years and marks the return of both Coxon and Stephen Street (the band’s producer during the Britpop era).
Coxon described the album’s style as “sci-fi folk” and the album is filled with wanderlust, introspection and bittersweet reflection, perfectly complimented by its less sneering and more melancholy tone. It opens with ‘Lonesome Street’ which is the most recognisably nineties song and criticises global consumerism with lines like, “mass produced in somewhere hot.”
‘Ghost Ship’, on the other hand, is a smoother, brass-flecked song with reggae tones meandering through it and ‘My Terracotta Heart’ displays the more sombre and mournful side of the album with line such as “we were more like bothers but that was years ago.”
‘I Broadcast’ was a personal favourite; it features the adrenalin and catchiness of ‘Ong Ong’ but feels less purpose built for number one, with hints of pop punk which seem to fuse the differing external influences and styles of the four members far more successfully than some of the other tracks like ‘Thought I Was A Spaceman’.
Familiar and exploratory, The Magic Whip is more than you can usually expect from a reunion album, retaining the band’s core identity in an aural playground of laptop textures, synthetics and hazy electronics. I wouldn’t call The Magic Whip an easy listen, but it is a mysteriously immersive album that certainly rewards a re-listen.
The Magic Whip was released on 28th April 2015.document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);