Britpop purists have battled for years over who wore the 90’s crown: Oasis or Blur. Both had an undeniable cheekiness which either pulled you in or pushed you away. Both created iconic songs that managed to stick in your head far longer than they should. Both were fronted by rock and roll bastard-types; Oasis by the Gallagher brother and Blur by Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon.
Lay it to rest, because The Magic Whip is a tremendous record from a band that I’d all but forgotten since Think Tank, Blur’s lumbering 7th outing. This new record manages to find space to breathe, working within the relaxed world sounds of Albarn’s solo work and the jangly tension of the bands past.
After a scrapped show in Hong Kong in 2013, the band found themselves with five days on their hands and studio time. The results were a crop of songs we may never hear, but the foundation was laid for a full on new project.
The Magic Whip is a study in nonchalance, paired with the careful eye of a truly fascinating lyricist. Albarn is watching this world spin past his skyline view, one three minute gem at a time. It’s quiet and cool and worthy of major spins.