Last year, Damon Albarn put out one of the most beautiful and intimate albums in recent memory, recalling his crazy, drug-filled past over twelve songs. On other fronts, Blur had played a few shows but kept downplaying the prospect of a new album, even after a recording session in in a Hong Kong hotel room that proved to be “too hot.” Furthermore, Gorillaz had been on hiatus since the end of the Plastic Beach tour, when Albarn said that any future projects were unlikely.
Then all of a sudden, everything changed.
I woke up this morning to my phone blowing up. I swiped it open, only to see the words, “Yes it really really really could happen!” Turns out that there’s not only a new Blur song, but a whole new album is coming out later this year.
The LP is called The Magic Whip — Blur’s first since 2003’s Think Tank — and its debut cut is “Go Out,” a sort of slowed down version of 2012’s “The Puritan.” The track is full of swagger, featuring Albarn’s trademark “oh oh oh’s” and distortion from Graham Coxon reminiscent of a more restrained “Bugman.” Sure, it’s not Blur’s best, but any new Blur is essential listening.
The Magic Whip drops April 28th and is produced by Stephen Street, the producer of many Smiths and earlier Blur records. No news on a subsequent tour, but when asked at a news conference this morning about playing in America, the band replied, “maybe, if anyone’s interested.” Fingers crossed!