Thursday, June 21, 2018

Review: With 'The Magic Whip'Blur doesn't miss a beat

After 12 years, one hiatus and multiple solo projects, Blur is putting itself back on the map. The British group of 1990s fame and their newest record, The Magic Whip, are already storming up the charts in the United Kingdom toward the No. 1 spot.

With this new release, Blur doesn't miss a beat from where they left off over a decade ago.

The album draws the majority of its content from the theme of exploring foreign spaces, which was most likely inspired by the band's recording sessions in Hong Kong after a festival cancellation. The songs also retain the band's past indie and alternative rock styles while building on them as well.

Songs such as Ong Ong and I Broadcast bring the listener back to the band's Britpop era, as both are rooted in the upbeat, easy-going attitude that characterizes the genre. Go Out manages to straddle the fence between Britpop and alternative, although the distortion on the song pulls a slight comparison to Song 2.

Other songs are much more "serious" in sound and content. The Asian-like chord melody and marching drums are at the forefront of There Are Too Many Of Us, which was written about the 2014 Sydney hostage siege. Later on, psychedelic rock makes its way onto the record on Mirrorball with its wavering, spaced-out guitar and delayed pace. But arguably the darkest song, Pyongyang, takes a small nod from Depeche Mode musically and gives a fictional account of an Albarn experience in the title city.

Blur's comeback album is thankfully not a backslide from the rest of its catalog. They seem on track to continue improving on their groundwork and cement their legacy, should they record again. After all, stagnated creativity means repetitive records and Blur still have a lot left in them before going down that road.

Dinorah Prevost Seminole High

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