The first album from Blur in over 12 years. How does the return of the British alt-rock legends compare to their unique past discography?
Blur is one of the quintessential alternative bands that everyone knows the name of but many people can’t name more than two songs. After millions of albums sold, side projects, massive tours, and over a decade on hiatus, Blur has returned with their first album since 2003.
Inspiration can come unexpectedly and from anywhere. Whether it’s the Dali method of allowing yourself to be aware of everything or sitting in a studio and writing until you get tendonitis, great things can come if you are willing to create from what inspires you and if you take the time to have it represent something special.
What is interesting about the Magic Whip is that it was inspired in a Hong Kong hotel room. Back in 2013 when a Japanese festival was unexpectedly cancelled, the boys of Blur were left stranded for five days. What came was a Japanese inspired album that ended up taking years to master and record.
Blur is that unique entity in the alternative scene that you know exactly when you hear, but when trying to describe the sound it can be hard to explain – like trying to explain what “salt” tastes like to someone who has never tasted it before. Blur has an identity all their own that is hard to blend with others. The Magic Whip perfectly describes that description.
Five songs from the upcoming 12 track album have been released so far to the public, and the full stream on iTunes Radio was aired a week before release. For many people, this was the first look into nostalgia of British pop rock that they haven’t heard in years.
Everything about Go Out has that Blur name brand written all over it. Listening to “To The Local” being extended to 12 syllables, the guitar feedback used as the rhythm, and the bouncing tune that this song makes it a case where it requires a few listens to get used to, but then it will never leave your head.
And that is how The Magic Whip can be described as a whole. It’s the type of album that will take a few listens and some growing time, but once it has, it will grow into your subconscious and never leave. Quickly listening to a few tracks from this album will NOT do justice to the creativity and music that is presented.
The Magic Whip excels most when the rhythm and mood is low and brooding. There is a haunting beauty in songs like My Terracotta Heart and New World Towers that create a perfect atmosphere that makes you feel like you are in a new moment that no one has experienced before.
The guitar is soothing with the high tone chords and Albarn’s voice syncs perfectly with the flow of this song. The rhythm feels fast but the song feels slow in and odd paradox that somehow turns into a gorgeous song.
There will be many listeners who aren’t used to this style of music who may not be able to enjoy it when they hear after just one listen. While every song may not resonate with you, this album still is the perfect example of growing into something you love if you give it time.
While many people with think of Blur from their screaming chant in Song 2, Their discography over the past 20 years has offered a world of creativity and style and gained the love of fans across continents. After a long wait, the first album from the band in over 12 years continues to give that level of talent.
Overall, The Magic Whip delivers on many different levels after the initial listen. IT undoubtedly feels like Blur picked up right where they left off without missing a step. The British poprock may not be for everyone, but it will hit the perfect chord for the fans of Blur in the past and present.