Blur The Magic Whip Parlaphone
Parlophone The genesis of Blur’s sound from their debut – Leisure – to their sophomore effort – Modern Life is Rubbish – was undoubtedly the making of the band. Across four brilliant albums they streamlined Essex-bred banter into a distinctly British style of eclectically- sourced pop music. Then, all of a sudden, they got all clever and started knocking about with all artists and what-not. The Magic Whip, fortunately, harks back to that brilliant streak of pop genius and while there’s the occasional nod to Think Tank-era loftiness on the whole it’s not half bad.
Opening with Lonesome Street is probably the best idea they’ve had since Tender swayed sixth album 13 into life. Unlike Tender though, it stomps through a poppy frame recalling a more energised Blur. It’s Coxon’s knack for melody and Albarn’s comic timing put to best-fit.
The only real face-palm mo- ments emerge from the lyrics. In Ice Cream Man (“Here comes the ice-cream man/parked at the end of the road”) Albarn tries to squeeze out a metaphor from a Whippy pump and ends up staring down at a melted choc-ice. Overlooking the pomp there’s plenty of well pitched tunes to balance it out – tracks like New World Towers and There Are Too Many of Us tackle crucial subjects without getting too pretentious while Go Out and I Broadcast bring a barrage of classic Coxon-Albarn pop to the fore.
The Magic Whip isn’t perfect but it’s certainly a welcome return for a songwriting partnership that’s spent far too long in the dark.